Hell was let loose at Umuchoko Egbelu Obube Community in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State on Friday, February 11 when some armed youths attacked the Publisher of Nigeria Moment Newspaper, George Nkwoji.
The irate youths said to number about 100 vandalized his house and ‘Amada’ Jeep’ as well as abducted him to an unknown destination.
Our correspondent gathered that the youths also dispossessed him of some cash, telephone handsets and Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card.
Sources revealed that some of the leaders of the youths who launched the onslaught on the publisher are suspects in the alleged murder of one Boniface Okere, an indigene of the community.
The youth leaders are reported to have opposed the conduct of autopsy on the deceased which was eventually executed on the fateful Friday.
It was further gathered that Nkwoji, who is also the traditional prime minister of the community championed the
conduct of the autopsy to ascertain the cause of death and pave way for the burial of the deceased.
The autopsy also coincided with the day the rebellious youths planned an illegal harvesting of the community’s palm fruits.
It was further gathered that one Emmanuel Oparaocha, a leader of the youths had contacted officers of the 211
Airforce Regiment to secure permission and protection during the illegal palm fruit harvesting but was rather detained.
Sources disclosed that President General of the community had informed the Airforce officers that the said Emmanuel Oparaocha is leading a dissident body which has been fomenting trouble in the community.
The youths seized Nkwoji at the venue of a meeting and ferried him to the bush where they beat him mercilessly including inflicting machete cuts on him.
Our source said; ‘’They whisked him to the bush where they continued the assault on him, dispossessed him of his two phones valued at over N300,000, his wallet containing cash and his ATM card.
“They insisted that Okenze would not be released except their detained leader was freed”.
Our source added that Nkwoji was eventually rescued in the forest where he was kept by the attackers in the night of Saturday, February 12.
The rampaging youths also attacked Sylvester Nkwoji, Raymond Oguzie and Nze Evans Agu and Iyke Nkwocha who led the team that rescued Nkwoji.
Meanwhile, the women of Egbelu Obube Community led by Lolo Ngozi Nkwocha on Sunday staged a rally to protest against the attack on Nkwoji and others
The women, who bore twigs during the rally pronounced curses on Nkwoji’s attackers.
Similarly, the President General of
Egbelu Obube community, Mr Patrick Umunnakwe has condemned the youths
and described their action as not only barbaric and primitive, but one that has brought image problem to the community.
He called on the community to embrace peace and work together for the development of the town.
The telephone of the traditional ruler of the community, HRH, Eze Jude Nworgu rang repeatedly without response.
Our correspondent was told that one Marcellinus Ewelike had been apprehended and handed over to the police at Zone 9 Umuahia in connection with the murder of Boniface Okere.
The publisher’s son, Chinasa expressed his profound gratitude to God for sparing his father’s life.
Chinasa also thanked those that risked their lives to rescue his father in the forest and called on the law enforcement agencies to bring those behind the attempted murder of his father to book.