The traditional ruler of Imufu Enugu-Ezike, Igwe Remigius Attah, his son Lazarus and 35 of his subjects were Monday quizzed by the police at the Zone 9 Police Headquarters, Umuahia, Abia State, for allegedly promoting local war contrary to section 86 of the Criminal Code.
Attah and his subjects were invited by the police at Umuahia following a petition by five persons alleging that he connived with the Imufu Neighbourhood Watch members to carry mock coffins of his opponents in the community who were still alive.
Neighbourhood Watch groups were set up by the Enugu State government to curtail the killings of farmers by Fulani herdsmen as well as other criminal cases like kidnapping and armed robbery.
However, in a petition signed against Igwe Attah and some of the Neighbourhood Watch members by Chief Augustine Ali, Christopher Eze and Kevin Eze, among others, it was alleged that the accused persons carried the mock burial ceremonies of the monarch’s opponents, an offence said to have been capable of promoting local war, threatening violence or unlawful homicide, among others.
The petition which was copied to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwanyi and the Enugu State police commissioner, among others, reads in part:
“We, the undersigned law-abiding people of Imufu Community, write to report a case of serious attempt on our lives by Igwe Remigius Attah, his son, Lazarus Attah, and a retired police officer, Mr Anselm Benedict Odo, among others, on Friday, February 17, 2017.
“We got wind that the above-named persons assembled at the instance of Remigius Attah where they planned along with many other criminals to attack us on the night of 16/2/2017 and promptly informed the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, for Igboeze North Local Government Area, who immediately swung into action and brought the situation under control.
“That night, they planned to pour petrol around our houses and put our families on fire.
“The DPO visited Chief Attah same night and spoke to him on the need for peace to prevail, leading to his dispersing of the hoodlums already assembled to attack us that night.
“However, the same hoodlums re-grouped on Friday, February 17, and carried mock coffins of all of us around the local government secretariat, Igboeze North, before proceeding to the police station, chanting funeral songs with our names although they were not allowed into the police station’s premises.
“They later carried the same effigy around Imufu before proceeding to our respective compounds to perform our mock funerals. By their actions they are trying to promote local war, threatening violence, attempting unlawful homicide as well as going armed so as to cause fear.
“From the information available to us, the plan to eliminate us is based on the suspicion that we are opposed to his Igweship as well as the fact that Christopher Eze and Stephen Iyidah jointly petitioned the police over alleged criminal activities of his henchman, Augustine Eze, alias MOVEMORE, following which the said MOVEMORE and Uche Nwodo were charged to an Enugu magistrate court and remanded in prison custody on 16/2/2017 after thorough investigation by the Federal SARS in Enugu.
“Before the arraignment of MOVEMORE and Uche Nwodo in court, MOVEMORE had routinely reported us to the police based on fabricated lies with the active support of Remigius Attah. These records are available at the Enugu-Ezike police station, the Police Area Command at Nsukka and the Federal SARS in Enugu…
“We therefore, hereby appeal to you to use your good offices and intervene urgently to avert bloodshed by bringing the culprits to justice as we and our families now live in fear of being killed in our homes.”
The charge against Igwe Remigius Attah, Lazarus Attah, ASP Benedict Anselm Odo and others borders on offences of promoting local war, threatening violence (contrary to section 120 (A & B) of the Criminal Code; attempt for unlawful homicide (contrary to section 275 (2) of the Criminal Code, and going armed so as to cause fear or terror (contrary to section 114 of the Criminal Code) and conduct likely to cause breach of the peace (contrary to section 247(d) of the Criminal Code).