Oruku community in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State has dismissed allegations by some natives of Umuode community that its people masterminded the murder of the traditional ruler of Umuode, Igwe Moses Ugwu, referring to the allegation as unfounded and spurious.
Ugwu was killed by unknown gunmen at his shop in Akpuoga Nike in Enugu East at 8pm on October 9. The police said 20 people were arrested from the area between October 9 and 10 in connection with the murder, adding that the suspects were now helping police investigation.
Messrs Emma Omaba and Thomas Chukwudi of Umuode community however on October 26 wrote a petition to Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State pointing accusing fingers at Oruku people as the masterminds of the murder of their traditional ruler.
Umuode community also expressed their contempt over the reported arrest of some suspects by the people, saying those being detained were passers-by and not the suspected indigenous people of Oruku who celebrated the murder of Ugwu on the night he was killed.
According to the spokesman of the Enugu State Police Command, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu, the command had not received any petition from Umuode over the matter, adding “if anybody has good information regarding the identity of those who murdered the traditional ruler, they are free to come forward and we shall make good use of it to get to the root of the matter.”
Reacting to Umuode’s accusation that some natives of Oruku, which had engaged the community in a prolonged land dispute, were behind the murder of the royal father, leaders of Oruku said in a statement that although they did not intend to join issues with Umuode people “in this trumped up allegation, we wish to state categorically that Oruku people were flabbergasted and shocked on hearing about the gruesome and brutal murder of the Igwe on radio.
“Pointing accusing fingers at Oruku people is not only deceptive, beguiling and subterfuge, but also atrocious and catchy.
“Consequently, we are constrained to make the following clarifications and rebutal: that from the radio and newspaper announcements of the death of Igwe Moses Ugwu signed by Emma Omaba and also police report on the matter, the incident took place at Akpuoga Nike where the Igwe lived and had his shop, and not in Oruku/Umuode.
“It was also in the news, both on radio and newspapers that the police confirmed the arrest of about 20 suspects in connection with the murder at Akpuoga and nearby Onuogba Villages.
“Based on these media and police reports, it is clear that the incident did not happen within the territory of Oruku/Umuode but in far away Akpuoga, which is some kilometers away from Oruku.
“On the allegation that over 2000 of them (Umuodes) had been killed in the crisis, Umuode’s population is not even up to 600 with a voting strength of less than 200 registered voters.”