President-General of Oruku Town Union in Nkanu East local government area of Enugu State, Chief Linus Nwatu, was reportedly shot dead in the early hours of Saturday (today) by gunmen who have been terrorizing the community in recent time.
Sources said Chief Nwatu, a retired police officer, was shot dead by the unidentified gunmen who broke into his house where he resided with his family members after his retirement from Nigeria Police some years back.
The Oruku President-General was killed on a day that the community had scheduled to bury a member of the town’s neighborhood watch, Mr. Dennis Ike (a.k.a Peace), who was shot dead by gunmen in the town on June 6, 2022.
The Advocate reported how the gunmen laid an ambush for Ike, who was riding motorcycle at the time, shot him dead and set his corpse and motorbike ablaze before proceeding to torch houses of some persons in Oruku that fateful day.
In like manner, the gunmen, apparently on a mission to forestall the burial of the slain Ike slated for today, stormed the compound of the president-general (Nwatu) and murdered him in cold-blood Saturday morning.
File: Oruku community protest to Enugu Government House against killing of their monarch, Igwe Emmanuel Mba
One of the sources, who preferred anonymity, told The Advocate that the attack on Nwatu was not unconnected with his role in the lingering communal conflict in Oruku, which the Enugu state government has failed to resolve over the years.
The traditional ruler of Oruku community, Igwe Emmanuel Mbah and several natives had been murdered by hoodlums loyal to a faction in the communal dispute from December 2020 till date. The traditional ruler was assassinated on December 26, 2020 and his killers are yet to be brought to book.
The assassination later sparked a disorder that caused destruction of lives and property in the community prompting Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to institute a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate Mbah’s killing.
The murdered Town Union President, Chief Nwatu, had alleged while testifying before the commission that “23 collaborators and sponsors were fueling cultist activities in Oruku” to destroy lives and property.
He had urged the commission headed by Justice Harold Eya to look into the names listed in his memorandum as the masterminds of Oruku crisis and bring them to book.
The Justice Harold Eya panel had since submitted its findings to Governor Ugwuanyi but the government has yet to make the report public and take necessary steps to restore lasting peace in the area.
As a result, many natives who deserted the community following series of attacks and arson, have not returned to their homes while those who remained in Oruku and neigbouring towns have continued to exist in fear though security operatives conduct patrol activities in the area periodically.
The state police spokesman, Daniel Ndukwe could not be reached for his comments on the renewed attack by press time Saturday.