Some civil rights activists under the umbrella of Forum for Good Governance (FGG) have begged the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, to intervene in a crisis that has engulfed the Evwreni Kingdom in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State.
The crisis they said has led to the gruesome killings and maiming of their youths.
Addressing reporters in Abuja on Tuesday on behalf of the activists, Mr Ugochukwu Ezekiel, a lawyer, said efforts made to address the problem through the police in the state as well as the state government have yielded no results.
Ezekiel, in the company of other members of the community, said the situation has degenerated into “a cesspool of murders, violence and insecurity”, and alleged that a traditional ruler was behind the chaos.
Reading from a statement, co-signed by Lemmy Ughegbe, Ataguba Aboje, A. T. Yusuf, Alexander Oketa, all lawyers, they alleged that the said monarch had personally constituted a vigilante group that have unleashed terror and carried out multiple killings of the people of the community.
They alleged that on the 22nd of March 2020, Okakor Omoghene, a youth of the community, was killed by members of the vigilante group on the order of the said monarch.
“Scores of youths were also severely injured during the incident. Also worrisome is the fact that despite several reports of the incident to the Police (Ughelli ‘A’ Division), no arrest or investigation had been made. Till date the corpse of the deceased is still nowhere to be found,” they said.
They further said that on 20 June 2020, the immediate past Executive Director Projects of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Engr Samuel Adjogbe narrowly escaped assassination along the East/West Road, close to the community after which a team of policemen arrived the Evwreni to arrest a prime suspect.
They said mayhem ensued when the said traditional ruler allegedly tipped off the suspect of his imminent arrest, thereby aiding him to escape amidst sporadic shooting by the vigilante group.
The monarch, they alleged, issued a death order to the vigilante group against any member of the Adjogbe family found within the community after which another youth, a 34-year old Sylvester Adjogbe, was shot dead by the leaders of the vigilante group.
”We note with sadness that Evwreni Progress Union (EPU), the grassroot pressure group renowned for promoting the core ideals of good governance, equity and justice in Evwreni Kingdom had written many petitions to the Commissioner of Police, Delta State and the Inspector General of Police and some highly placed individuals are working hard to ensure that the matter is swept under the carpet while the gruesome murder of innocent citizens continue in that community,” they said.
They called for a thorough investigation into the death of Sylvester Adjogbe, Okakor Omoghene as well as others who have been allegedly killed or assaulted the vigilante group.
They also called for the constitution of an inquiry into the circumstances leading to the escape of a suspect arrested by the police in the state.
The activists said the community is presently sitting on a keg of gunpowder and if the matter was not addressed urgently it could escalate into a full-blown crisis of massive proportions
”Evwreni presently sits on a keg of gunpowder and if nothing urgent is done, we fear for the lives and properties of the people of that Community. We urge the Police to act fast as a stitch in time, they say, saves nine,” they said.