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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Top Stories from the South-east: Ohanaeze’s Warning to Nigerian Government, PDP’s Ongoing Dispute, and More

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From threat by Ohanaeze Ndigbo against the Nigerian government to squabble in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-east, the past week was eventful in the region.

It was the fourth week of February 2024.

Here are the highlights of the top stories that made headlines in the region:

Security agencies raid terrorist camp in South-east

The week began with a cheering announcement by the police in Anambra State on Tuesday that combined security agencies raided a camp of suspected insurgents in Achalla, a community in Awka North Local Government Area of the state.

The police spokesperson in the state, Tochukwu Ikenga, said combined security operatives raided the camp on Monday.

He said the commissioner of police in the state ordered the operation after the insurgents allegedly disrupted business activities at the community’s market the previous Monday by ordering traders in the market to sit-at-home.

Mr Ikenga, a deputy superintendent of police, said the security operatives took the insurgents by surprise, prompting them to flee with gunshot wounds, “leaving trails of blood.”

Although the police did not specifically mention the identities of the “insurgents,” a faction of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had been linked to the sit-at-home orders in the region, which was intended to pressure the Nigerian government to release its detained leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who is standing trial for alleged terrorism at a Federal High Court, Abuja.

Ohanaeze threatens to sue Nigerian government

Still on Monday, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo threatened to sue the Nigerian government over its failure to create an additional state in the South-east.

The President-General of the Ohanaeze, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, said it is improper that the South-east is the only region in Nigeria with five states, adding that the situation has cost the region billions of financial losses and losses in ministerial appointments as well as legislative representations.

Mr Iwuanyanwu claimed that he had repeatedly drawn the attention of successive Nigerian governments to the situation in the region, but nothing has been done to address the “injustice”.

Leaders in the South-east have been making the demand for an additional state in the region. This is, however, the first time the apex Igbo group would threaten legal action against the Nigerian government.

Prosecution of man over alleged cruelty to animals

We also reported the story of a native doctor in Enugu State accused of cruelty to animals.

The native doctor, identified simply as Nnabuikem, popularly known as ‘High Chief Enenie Nwa ite,’ hails from Ovoko, a community in Igbo-Eze South Local Government Area of the state.

PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported that Mr Nnabuikem was seen in several video clips uploaded on his Facebook page torturing and violently killing animals, apparently to perform rituals for his clients.

The Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, Kanayo Uzuegbu, later announced that he had ordered the arrest and prosecution of the native doctor.

Mr Uzuegbu urged individuals and organisations within and outside Nigeria who have seen the viral video clips to keep faith with the police to ensure justice in the matter.

South-east PDP squabbles over national secretary position

The crisis raging in the South-east PDP deepened on Tuesday when the leadership of the party in the region insisted that the National Working Committee (NWC) and other organs of the PDP should ratify Sunday Udeh-Okoye as the party’s national secretary.

There has been an intense contest about who is the authentic national secretary of the PDP, between Samuel Anyanwu and a former PDP National Youth Leader, Mr Ude-Okoye.

Mr Anyanwu, the substantive occupant of the position, is seeking to retain the position after losing in the 11 November Imo State governorship election.

A Federal High Court in Abuja, in January 2024, declared Mr Anyanwu as the valid national secretary of the PDP.

But the PDP leadership in the South-east, in a communiqué issued at the end of its Zonal Executive Committee meeting in Enugu on Tuesday, contended that the Abuja court ruling came after a High Court in Enugu State had already ruled against Mr Anyanwu and ordered that Mr Udeh-Okoye be recognised as the national secretary of the party.

They accused the party’s national leadership of mistreating the zone by neglecting their earlier nomination, and insisted that they would no longer tolerate the delay in ratification of Mr Udeh-Okoye as the party’s national secretary.

The raging crisis, if not immediately tackled, may completely tear the PDP apart in the region, where it suffered losses in the 2023 presidential and National Assembly elections.

Lassa fever kills 14 in Ebonyi

Lassa fever continued its havoc in Ebonyi State on Wednesday where it claimed 14 lives.

Authorities said that the 14 cases were among the 29 confirmed cases of the disease recorded as of 20 February.

According to them, no fewer than 110 suspected cases of the disease were recently recorded in the state.

Arraignment of lawyer accused of brutalising house help

The report about a female lawyer accused of brutalising her 11-year-old house girl was among the stories that trended in Nigeria’s South-east within the past week.

The lawyer, Adachukwu Cukelu-Okafor, was said to have used a broken bottle, knife and electric iron to “brutalise” the child who began staying with her on 5 January.

She later reportedly went into hiding which prompted the Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare in Anambra, Ify Obinabo, to declare her wanted.

PREMIUM TIMES reported that, following Ms Cukelu-Okafor’s disappearance, Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, placed a N2 million bounty on the lawyer.

The lawyer later surrendered herself to the police in Awka, Anambra State.

She was arraigned, Wednesday, on a two-count charge of willful infliction of physical injuries on the house girl before the Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Magistrate Court in Awka, Anambra State.

The lawyer pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The court declined her bail application and remanded her in the custody of the State Criminal Investigation Department, Awka.

The matter was adjourned until 28 February for a ruling on the defendant’s bail application.

Killing of Anambra community leader

It was a black Friday in Umuoji, a community in Idemili North Local Government Area of the state where Silas Onyima, the president-general of the community, was killed by hoodlums who attacked him in his residence.

The attack and killing of the president-general highlights the worsening insecurity in the state and region.

Killing of pharmacist in Imo

Like in Anambra, the black Friday extended to Imo State on Friday, where gunmen killed a pharmacist after abducting his elder brother, who later escaped from captivity.

The incident happened in Irete, a community in Owerri West Local Government Area of the state.

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