Not fewer than three
persons sustained various
degrees of injuries yesterday
at Ochuche Umuodu
community in Ogbaru
Local Government Area of
Anambra state, following
a bloody clash between a
vigilante group and youths
of the community over
royalty fees.
According to the source,
the incident occurred
when the youths allegedly
attempted to disarm the
vigilante operatives attached
to a new sand dredging site
along the River Niger creek,
after demanding what they
termed as royalty fees from
sand dredgers.
Sources said the Ochuche
youths had on several
occasions harassed the
dredgers and disrupted their
activities at the new dredging
site while demanding for
their cash entitlements but
their latest demand turned
bloody as the operatives
intervened and confronted
The site manager of the
dredging company identified
as Engineer Austin stated
that, the vigilante group
attached to the new site was
on their normal daily routine
of ensuring that construction
works/operations are carried
out as planned, but the
youths will not let them carry
out their work plan in peace.
According to him, “At the
instance of all these, there
has been an open window
and invitation to the so
called Ochuche youths by
our office to listen to their
needs and possibly reach
out to them but they were
not bulging. This continued
in the past week till this
incident happened; but on
this very day, they came in
their usual practice to harass
the workers on site making
unnecessary demands and
carting away our work tools
while all efforts and plea by
the workers and vigilante
group to make peace with
them, proved abortive.
“They tried to overpower
the vigilante operatives on
ground with the workers and
contractors on site seriously
beaten and wounded; but
when the youths wanted to
disarm them and possibly
cart away their arms and
ammunitions, their hands
touched the trigger and
bullets went off in the heat
of the struggle and injured
some of them.”
At the Atani Police Station,
the Divisional Police
Officer in charge, Ibrahim
Egye declined comments
but a senior police officer
who pleaded anonymity,
disclosed that arrests has
been made and the matter,
transferred to the State
Criminal Investigation
Department, SCID, Awka, for
further investigations, just as
the injured persons has been
taken to a private hospital for
medical attention.
As at the time of filing this
report, the State Police Public
Relations Officer, PPRO, DSP
Uche Eze, when contacted on
phone, said he was yet to be
briefed on the matter.