One killed in Imo as PDP, APC local govt officials clash

Former Gov. Rochas Okorocha and Emeka Ihedioha
Former Gov. Rochas Okorocha and Emeka Ihedioha

One person was killed in Imo State on Monday as sacked chairmen and councilors attempted to resume their duties at various local government areas of the state.

They met stiff resistance from members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in most of the local government areas.

The chairpersons, whose elections were conducted by the past administration of Rochas Okorocha before he left office, were sacked by Governor Emeka Ihedioha shortly after he was sworn in.

He also set up interim management committees for the councils.

The suspended chairmen and their councillors across the state had besieged the 27 LGAs headquarters with the intent to resume duties.

They cited the Supreme Court judgement in a case between suspended Ekiti State LGA chairmen and the state government, in which the court ruled that the governor had no legal power to suspend elected LGAs chairmen.

But the suspended chairmen were resisted by the interim management committees and PDP supporters which led to a riotous situation.

In Owerri West council, the committee chairman, Innocent Ekenma, said the APC chairmen and their supporters were stopped 200 metres away from the secretariat before they could even gain access into the council.

“We resisted them; they did not even progress beyond the market square. Everywhere is calm now and I am in charge; whoever told you that they beat us is telling lies,” Mr Ekenma said.

The situation was similar in Owerri North council.

The committee chairman, Solomon Onwuegbuchulam, also prevented the APC sacked chairman and councillors with over 500 supporters from coming close to the gate of the council.

Orlu, Nwangele, Orsu, Ehime-Mbano, Isiala-Mbano, Ahiazu Mbaise, Oru East , Oru West and Ohaji/Egbema also had similar situations.

In Aboh Mbaise, the APC chairman, Chidi Nwaturuocha, who earlier successfully gained entrance into the council with his councillor and supporters, was allegedly manhandled by the police. He was said to have been teargassed and beaten by the police.

His councillor, Jasper Nwachukwu, was also said to have been wounded in the head when a police officer attacked him with the butt of his gun. Gov. Ihedioha is from Aboh Mbaise.

Also, at Njaba, there was a palpable tension as the scenario degenerated into a free-for-all-fight between APC supporters and PDP supporters.

Properties were vandalised and windscreens of vehicles destroyed by the riotous crowd.

However, at Umundugba, the headquarters of Isu Local Government Area, one of the suspended councillors, Ahamefule Maduabuchi, was shot dead as he and other colleagues engaged the police and PDP supporters.

There were conflicting reports on who fired the gun that killed the councillor.

While some alleged he was killed by the police, others claimed that he was shot by a member of the PDP.

The police spokesperson in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, said the State Commissioner of Police, Olaniyi Fafowora, had ordered an investigation into the killing.

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“Yes, we are aware of the killing of one of the suspended councillors at Isu LGA today but the commissioner of police has launched an investigation into the killing with of view to apprehending the killers.

“The CP had a meeting with the suspended councillors and they have agreed to sheath their swords for now. The area is calm and the state is calm. People should go about their lawful business without fear.”

He said that the APC chairmen who were coming for reinstatement could not produce a valid Supreme Court judgement they claimed gave them the power to occupy their former positions.

He said the Ekiti State judgement which they were relying on though similar should never be used as a yardstick.

“We were there to ensure the security of lives and properties; the ousted council chairmen said they had the Supreme Court judgment. To the best of the knowledge of the command, there is no Supreme Court judgement as such,” Mr Orlando said.

“The norm or the ethics is the bailiff would have to serve you with a court order but they don’t have it.

“However, the judgement that they are referring to is that of Ekiti State; there is no way you can import another judgement from another state even though they are similar; so there is no order directing them to take over,” Mr Orlando said.


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