Unraveling The Remote And Immediate Cause of Ekoli Edda Massacre of 26th December, 2022

From John Emegha, Ekoli Edda

What started as an action movie following the deadly attack on the State APC Chairman, Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha and his convoy on 26th December, 2022 at Ekenta Ekoli Edda by Ekoli Youth Vanguard later ended up as a horrifying experience that claimed three lives and loss of property worth millions of Naira. For purposes of clarity, it is important to trace the genesis of the Ekoli massacre of 26th December, 2022 and its impact on the survival of the community. 

It would be observed that Ekoli Band of Hope Union held two kangaroo meetings on 7th and 17th December, 2022 at Eji-Udo Hall, Ekoli Edda where the decision was taken mandating the terror gang in Ekoli Edda operating in disguise as Ekoli Youth Vanguard, to visit terror on anybody opposing the evil regime in Ekoli Edda. The union also took some incomprehensible rash decisions as follows:
i. Dissolution of Ekoli Youth Association Executives which affected only Home Branch and National Officers of the association after Kenneth Agha Okoro (aka Mukoro) had been in office as National Youth Chairman for eleven years since 18th June, 2011. The Union ordered that fresh election of new officers be conducted within one week interval. The election coming at the heels of the 2023 general elections in defiance of Ebonyi State Government Executive Order is a misnomer.
ii. Dissolution of Ekoli Electricity Committee which Ekoli Band of Hope Union did not set up particularly against the backdrop that the committee is made up of patriotic citizens who assembled themselves together with a clear cut mission to salvage Ekoli electricity problem. Today, Irem Ibom Agwu and Irem Etta Egor have returned to the street of Ekoli Edda with their ladder with a view to extorting electricity consumers as usual.
iii. Summoned the State APC Chairman and Special Security Consultant to Ebonyi State Government, Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha; Engr. Kalu Ama Mba and Chief Ama Chima Ama to appear before Ekoli General Assembly on 2nd January, 2023 in a bid to humiliate and dehumanize them for no just cause. 
Suffice it to say that the above repugnant decisions bordering on unnecessary show of strength, conceived by the oppressors to not only prove that they are in-charge but also own the community, was uncalled for since Barr. Eni Uduma Chima is not contesting the leadership of the community with anyone, having used his fifteen years in power to overrun existing local apparatus of administration in the community. The aforementioned nocturnal meetings nevertheless triggered off the resolve to assassinate Stanley and others.

There is no gain saying the fact that the assassination attempt on the life of the State APC Chairman, Stanley Okoro Emegha; the gruesome murder of his Escort Commander, Inspr. Festus Akpan and the assassination of his younger brother, Emeka Orji Ama as well as the burning down of his houses were no doubt a carefully planned deal by the evil establishment in Ekoli Edda which however was poorly executed.

It is on record that the State APC Chairman had on that fateful day received in audience at his Ekoli Residence the Traditional Rulers of Edda Clan who had organized a civic reception in his honour in recognition of his induction to Ebonyi Hall of Fame as “Commander”. After his historic meeting with the Royal Fathers, he preceded to Ameke village to inspect the civic centre project he was sponsoring for his village. This visit was necessitated by the fact that the project was slated for commissioning on 1st January, 2023. He was accompanied by the President of Ameke Development Union, Dr. John Ama Ibiam and the Village Head, Ezeogo Philip Okoro Nsi among others.

By the time Stanley came out from the hall after interfacing with the leadership of the village, his security operatives alerted him that they were surrounded by some gun wielding youths. To this end, the security agents advised him on the need for them to leave the environment immediately since according to them it was no longer safe. Before Stanley hurried to his vehicle, the leader of the gang, Kenneth Agha Okoro ordered his boys to shoot their fleeing targets. Consequently, the vandals riddled Stanley’s Prado jeep with bullets and other vehicles in his convoy. The affected vehicles that were also riddled with bullets include vehicles belonging to Dr. John Ama Ibiam, Chief Simon Igwe Iroh and Mr. Okechukwu Eze respectively.

On the other hand, the driver of Stanley’s security backup Hilux van, Akpa Kelechi was paralysed by fear, shock and tension that he could not move the vehicle despite the fact that the engine was steaming. Out of confusion and frustration, the security operatives who had already rushed inside the Hilux van abandoned the vehicle and scampered for safety. 

In the process, the State APC Chairman’s Escort Commander, lnspr. Festus Akpan was shot dead. One William Ncheghe Ibiam got hold of the Inspector’s AK 47 gun while the almighty Azunna Oko Ekuma (aka zino) took possession of the Hilux van and started cruising around the town like a warlord. However, the Hilux van was set ablaze on 30th December, 2022 along Omaghuzo Nkagbogo farm road with fuel brought by Abuchi Chima Mark after the gang failed to secure a buyer in their quest to dispose it off. Meanwhile, the AK 47 riffle belonging to the deceased Police officer has been recovered by the Police.

Nevertheless, the President of Ameke Development Union, Dr. John Ama Ibiam and Ameke Village Head, Ezeogo Philip Okoro Nsi who were eye witnesses to the vicious attack have made statement to the police, stating categorically the fact of the case the way they saw it.

In their murderous adventure to reduce Ekoli to another Afghanistan, the gang led by its leader, Kenneth Agha Okoro by extension deliberately shot and killed Esien Kalu Egwu at about 7:00pm along Ocha Road. The time of Esien’s murder is very important compared to when Stanley was attacked some minutes after 4:00pm. This is against the backdrop that after he fled from Ekoli with his convoy, he did not come back again contrary to the kite Onuu George Ikwor who even sustained bullet wound when Esien was shot was trying to fly that it was Stanley who ordered men of Ebubeagu Security Outfit to gun down Esien. However, when Onuu was subjected to interrogation, he confessed that he was brain washed to lie against Stanley. At the same time, there is another strong testimony from one of the suspects in Police custody that it was Azunna Oko Ekuma (aka zino) who killed Esien.

Many reasons have been adduced as the basis why Esien was killed by the terror gang. It would be observed that he had vehemently fought against the group from 2010 to 2019. And some of Eni’s foot soldiers felt so bitter and sad that Esien was imposed on them as the new Home Branch Youth Chairman through the support of his master, Mr. Ama Ibom Agwu.

It is most unfortunate that Esien Kalu Egwu died as a victim of circumstances in the hands of the same evil establishment he fought against in the past in order to protect his community from the oppressors. My heart bleeds that the oppressors deceived him at last to believe that his struggle for freedom and liberation of his community was an effort in futility. It is difficult to believe that Esien who was nearly beaten to death at Ekenta Ekoli Edda on 23rd August, 2010 by the terror gang after destroying his motorcycle could have mortgaged his conscience to wine and dine with the oppressors who wanted him dead. It is heartbreaking that Esien who had gone to court in January, 2011 to challenge the evil establishment in Ekoli Edda could have gone back to the oppressors to jostle for position. May his soul rest in peace – Amen.

While we mourn painfully the death of Esien who was murdered in cold blood, the major reason for this dastardly act conceived and executed by the terror gang, was to create an alibi to justify the burning of Stanley’s twin residential houses at Ekoli Edda and the murder of his younger brother, Emeka Orji Ama whose death was said to have been muted by Ukachi Etuu (Mukoro’s wife) and executed by Arua Ikwor Ekpe (Commander) who was alleged to have said that since Stanley ordered for the killing of Esien, that his own relatives should also be killed. On account of Ukachi’s insinuation, the terror gang trailed Emeka to his house along Ugbo road, Ekoli Edda, close to Ukachi’s house, and broke open his door while the blood tasty Arua Ikwor Ekpe ridded his body with gunshots.

So far twenty suspects have been arrested by the Police and they are presently helping the police with information on what transpired on 26th December, 2022. The five most significant suspects in police custody are Kenneth Agha Okoro, Chinedu Egwu, Azunna Oko Ekuma, Okporie Oti and Stephen John Umeh who are principal actors of the assassination plot. The question is where are the likes of Arua Ikwor Ekpe, Onuu Anya Okoro (Chief Priest) and Irem Ibom Agwu who shot Inspr. Festus Akpan and took possession of the Toyota Hilux Pilot van or William Ncheghe Ibiam (aka Iba Oru) who seized the Inspector’s AK 47 rifle and a host of others who specialize in terrorizing the community on regular basis.

At this juncture, the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. Chief David Nweze Umahi must be highly commended for his prompt intervention by drafting to the troubled community heavy security personnel which is basically why the death toll is drastically reduced as well as the level of destruction  recorded. Kudos also to members of the APC State Working Committee for courageously recommending to the governor, the expulsion of Barr. Eni Uduma Chima, for his complicity in the assassination attempt on the life of the State APC Chairman, Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha.  As expected, Eni denied fore-knowledge of the attack. He claimed that he was at Amasiri on the day in question. This is a very weak defense because he was spotted around Itim Edda at about 5:00pm leaving Ekoli on that fateful day and there is strong evidence that he was in Ekoli during the attack.

I find it difficult to believe that someone who punched on the face, the Traditional Ruler of Ekoli Edda, Ezeogo John Igwe during a Town Hall Meeting on 29th June, 2022 and also disrupted the burial of Mr. Elijah Agwu’s wife on 20th November, 2021 could not have ordered the assassination of the State APC Chairman. It is important to note that the corpse of the deceased woman is still lying in the mortuary because the terror gang in Ekoli Edda cannot allow the woman to be buried.

Let no one lose sight of the fact that a heavy storm has blown across the length and breadth of Ekoli Edda on 26th December, 2022, rocking the peace and foundation of the community. A dangerous precedence has been set in a most ridiculous and sordid manner by the terror gang publicly attempting to take the life of Stanley. Lives of innocent citizens were lost and properties worth millions of Naira destroyed. Many families living outside Ekoli Edda could not return home because of insecurity. Concerned citizens have blamed the so called Ekoli Youth Vanguard as the agent provocateur of the attack/crisis. But the critical questions are?
i. Who formed the Ekoli Youth Vanguard?
ii. Who equipped them with arms, ammunition and other dangerous weapons?
iii. What is the means of livelihood of members of the Ekoli Youth Vanguard such that one of them during the attack expended over fifty bullets at a stretch chasing an innocent person?
iv. Could Ekoli Youth Vanguard have unilaterally conceived the idea of assassination of the APC State Chairman right there in his country home without clearance from their principal namely: Eni, Uka Mba and Oji Ufiem Okoro?
The answer to the above questions is capital NO. It is painfully regrettable that Ekoli Edda under the watch of Uka Mba Uka as Town Union President and his counterpart Orji Ufiem Okoro as defacto Traditional Ruler witnessed bizarre and murderous action of some irrational youths under the guise of Ekoli Youth Vanguard who took up arms in a broad day light, hunting for Stanley in a bid to kill him. This is what Ekoli Edda has now become.

As for Barr. Eni Uduma Chima, his flimsy argument that he attended the Amasiri Day Celebration the same day is not sustainable. What he did not know was that the network service provider squarely monitored his location and calls when the military authorities at 82 Army Division, Enugu and Ohafia Army Barracks in a telephone conversation on account of why they had warned him that what happened at Amangwu Ohafia in October, 2022 will be a child’s play compared to what would befall on Ekoli community should anything happen to any of the soldiers safe-guarding the house of Engr. Kalu Ama Mba at Mgborokuma Ekoli Edda which his boys also wanted to set ablaze the same day. Of course, we all know Eni’s antecedents. 

This was the same way, Eni lied to the Ebonyi State Commissioner of Police, CP Victor Ayeni that he was not in Ekoli Edda on 27th December, 2010 when his boys turned the community upside down, wounding and maiming innocent citizens whereas Chief Ude Emegha Okoro saw Eni life and direct in his compound shooting sporadically on the day in question. The then Afikpo South Divisional Police Officer, CSP Achibong Enebong who defended Eni before the Commissioner of Police that he was not around when the crisis started received his own baptism of fire when Eni used him as a punching bag right there in the man’s office on 25th March, 2011 when three Development Centre Coordinators in Afikpo South LGA were kidnapped. 

Come to think about it, this is not the first time there is an assassination attempt on the life of Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha. It is on record that he narrowly escaped death on 23rd July, 2013 during the councillorship primary election at Ogboaja Ndi-Nnachi Ekoli Edda. It turned out that as he was addressing his audience, trying to explain to them the reason for the disqualification of one of the aspirants for the primary election, the terror gang led by Ndukwe Ukpai Mba, Kalu Nnachi Ugwu and Chima Etta Eseni confronted him brandishing guns. In an attempt to escape from the scene, the gang blocked the road with obstacles. One of his strong supporters, Kalu Ogbu who attempted to remove the barricade was shot dead.

Surprisingly, apart from the fact that Eni wrote a petition through a lawyer on behalf of the wife of the deceased, accusing Stanley of the murder, all the local apparatus of administration in the community who were supposed to uphold justice compromised their office. Instead, they preferred to organize a mega demonstration at the State Police Command Headquarters, demanding for the arrest and prosecution of Stanley as the killer of Kalu Ogbu. The women folk was led by Lilian Akanu; Ekoli Band of Hope Union was led by its President and Ama Okoro Uche while the Traditional Institution was led by Chief Oji Egbeke. 

The Commissioner of Police declared Stanley wanted on account of the demonstration. However, the evidence of Chukwudi Okoro Ette (aka Afaeto) who was with Kalu Ogbu at the time he was shot was the game changer that exonerated Stanley from blame. I wonder why the Town Union and the traditional institution who are part of the conspiracy to assassinate Stanley have not gone to the police this time around to talk rubbish. Perhaps, it is because some well meaning citizens of Ekoli Edda had gone to court to challenge the imposition of Orji Ufiem Okoro as the Traditional Ruler of the Community, the court having warned him sternly not to parade himself as such.

Another critical question is is this the first time Eni and his cohorts are disrupting the peace of the community during December time? The answer is no. For instance, on 27th December, 2010, Ekoli Community was thrown into a state of pandemonium following the atrocities of the terror gang who went from house to house in search of their perceived enemies, attacking helpless innocent citizens, maiming them and looting their properties. Chief Ude Emegha Okoro narrowly escaped death in the vicious attack in his house which was personally led by Eni himself. Elder Nnachi Oti Oji, an 86 years old elder statesman died two years after he was attacked, as a result of trauma arising from the attack. The deadly attack however left in its trail scores of victims who were either maimed or wounded namely; Arusi Nnachi, Patrick Udu Kama, Esien Kalu Egwu, Nnachi Echeta, William Samuel etc.

The reason of the attack was not farfetched. Chief Ude Emegha Okoro, Chief Ibiam Oji Ama, Chief Oti Etta and Prince Henry Ama Ugorji – reputed elder statesmen had on 25th October, 2010 sponsored a  petition to the Inspector General of Police and Director General of State Security Service through Barr. Ray Akanwa, alerting the two key security agencies of the existence of a terrorist organization in Ekoli Edda known as “KANBEDONE” which hitherto has been terrorizing the community and its environs.

Again, Ekoli community was on 25th December, 2018 thrown into yet another state of chaos and confusion following Eni’s unilateral dissolution of the Igboeze Traditional Council of Chiefs and the torture of the Council’s Chairman, Chief Oji Egbeke and also the torture of two of the Council’s cabinet members namely; Olughu Mba (Village Head of Amaichakara) and Oko Obasi (Eni’s Uncle who even took him on bail over the present Ekoli massacre). The two errand council members were stripped naked and tormented accordingly by Kenneth Agha Okoro and his torture team for complying with the council’s directive, mandating them to find out from Eni when it will be convenient for him to meet with the council in order to resolve a compliant received from Sen. Sonni Ogbuorji.

It would be observed that Sen. Ogbuorji had earlier on that fateful day in the company of some Ebunwana Edda Elders approached the Ekoli Council of Chiefs, to clear himself of the allegation leveled against him by Eni that he was supplying arms to the people of Egbor community in Biase LGA of Cross River State to enable them prosecute war against Ekoli Edda, and noted as false, the claim that his alleged support for the Cross Riverians was because his mother was by birth an indigene of the area. In any case, Ogbuorji’s visit to Ekoli Edda at the time for clarity of purpose was what brought about the dissolution of Ekoli Council of Chiefs and torture of the aforementioned victims because Eni as a sadist and a pathological liar who has great capacity for mischief and evil is always afraid of the truth. 

There is no doubt that Barr. Eni Uduma Chima is conscious of the level of social discontent among the elites who are no long comfortable that he is gradually leading the community to precipice. This sad discovery made him realize that the only way to sustain the legitimacy of the prevailing evil regime in the community is to manipulate gullible minds predominantly peasant farmers and local women by telling them irredeemable blatant lies knowing too well that they cannot ask questions. Such lies include but  not limited to:
i. That Chief Ama Chima Ama is a saboteur who is secretly working with the combined warriors from Abunwan and Egbor communities in Cross River State to wage war against the people of Ekoli Edda. This spurious claim is worrisome because Eni has not been able to convince anybody the real reason why he went to war in the first place with some communities in Cross River State.
ii. That the State APC Chairman, Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha is not only opposed to Ekoli Community accommodating Urugbam refugees in its domain but had transferred the sum of N40,000.00 as an inducement to the enemies to kill the younger brother of Ekoli Town Union President, Ukpai Mba Uka when he was abducted by the enemies in February, 2022. This was why the warriors of Urugbam in Ekoli Edda joined forces with Ekoli Youth Vanguard to attack Stanley and his convoy on 26th December, 2022.
iii. That Engr. Kalu Ama Mba must be punished for believing that Ekoli Youth Vanguard perforated his house in the village with bullets in 2021 instead of alleging that it was known enemies from Nguzu Edda. Another of Kalu Ama’s sin was that he restored steady power supply in the community which Eni and his cohorts could not do.

On account of the falsehood and cheap blackmail expressed by the unrepentant pharaoh himself, Eni, a town crier, Nnachi Eze went round the community on 19th December, 2022, announcing the summons of the aforementioned three persons who were ordered to appear before Ekoli General Assembly on 2nd January, 2022 for interrogation without recourse to the fact that Stanley for crying out loud, is the State Chairman of the ruling APC Government in the State and therefore should not be disrespected and molested by anybody under any guise. The Town crier also warned Ama Chima to withdraw the case he reported to the State Police Command in respect of the brutal attack which Eni and his boys launched against him at the State Judiciary Headquarters, Abakaliki on 18th July, 2022 as ordered by the community. To formalize the summons, the Palace Secretary of Igboeze Council of Chiefs, Mr. Onuu Mba reduced the invitation in writing to the affected persons.

However, when it dawned on the local leadership of the community that the State APC Chairman will not honour the nonsensical invitation, his visit to Ekoli on 26th December, 2022 was a unique opportunity to unleash the so called Ekoli Youth Vanguard on him, at least to prove to him, that he is an inconsequential fellow who could be slaughtered without consequence like others before him. This was why the leadership of the community visited him with unprecedented degree of naked violence, shattering his vehicle and that of his convoy with bullets.

But the questions agitating the mind of well meaning citizens of Ekoli Edda especially now that Eni pretends to be a repented Good Samaritan who has embarked on the crusade of handing over to the Police some of the suspects such as Kenneth Agha Okoro (Mukoro), Azunna Oko Ekuma (zino) and Okporie Oti among others are:
i. Where are his co-conspirators such as the President of Ekoli Band of Hope Union, Dr. Uka Mba Uka and the so called Eze-Elect, Eld. Orji Ufiem Okoro?
ii. Where are the Palace Secretary, Onuu Mba and Town Crier, Nnachi Eze who extended invitation to those they earmarked for execution?
iii. Where are Arua Ikwor Ekpe (Commander) who killed Emeka Oji Ama or Ukachi Etu who initiated the plot to kill Stanley’s relatives. 
iv. Where are other key actors who had participated in the killing of Inspr. Festus Akpan, burning of government and private vehicles, burning of Stanley’s houses and burning of Chimaobi Oji Ama’s motorcycle namely; William Ncheghe Ibiam, Abuchi Chima Mark, Peter Ogbuagu Ibe, Anya Etu, Ogbonna Peter Ibeze, Onuu Anya Okoro, Kalu Anya, Daniel Udu Kama, Ukpai Okoro, Nnachi Akanu,  Sunday Uro Udu and Okam Irem Oke whose house Inspector Akpan was hiding before Arua Ikwor Ekpe shot him among others.

Conclusion: There is no gain saying the fact the plot to assassinate the State APC Chairman, Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha was a perfect conspiracy conceived and executed by critical stakeholders in the community as exemplified by the nocturnal meetings of 7th an 17th December, 2022 which unarguably was an offshoot of the infamous Ogboaja Ekoli Edda Declaration of 9th August, 2022 where Barr. Eni Uduma Chima had threatened to either kill or maim anybody opposed to what he termed as the “Ekoli Project”. The project no doubt is to emasculate the community by silencing anybody opposed to the evil establishment in Ekoli Edda. 

It is unfortunate that in Ekoli Edda today we have a regime that had the audacity to have imported to the community a strange shrine in the 21st century when everybody in other climes is looking unto God for salvation. It will be observed that the said shrine was instituted by Eni and Uka Mba shortly after the killing of the Ekoli 7 at Ibuo Farm Settlement on 30th May, 2020. The death of the victims was entirely the fault of Eni and his cousin, Anya Oko Ekuma after the Town Union President Dr. Uka Mba Uka had made frantic efforts to avert the unknown by visiting the place with soldiers four days before the gruesome murder. Surprisingly, Eni ordered Uka Mba to leave the scene with the soldiers after Anya Oko Ekuma placed a call to him (Eni). Hopefully, the shrine was set ablaze on 1st January 2022 by soldiers. Those initiates terrorizing the community who derive their power from the shrine should rather kiss the transformer.

Nevertheless, the time has come for the people to rally round and take back their community. I am no longer physically strong or mentally alert to sustain the struggle which I started thirteen years ago especially nine years after retirement from service despite death threat hanging on my neck since 21st August, 2022 coming from the terror gang. The younger generation should take up the struggle  as an inevitable challenge aimed at securing a future for the next generation of Ekoli people since the only legacy the children we have at home now, is that they have been trained to master the art of shooting and killing.

Gov. Umahi in one of his two visits to Ekoli Edda after the ugly incident of 26th December, 2022, promised to mop up arms and light weapons in the community. This is the first crucial step to the actualization of freedom in the community. But this onerous task is not the responsibility of government alone. We know the people who carry arms and where these arms are kept. It therefore behoves upon the people to swoop in and do the needful. Together we will reclaim our community from looters and killers and there is no amount of intimidation that will change the people’s resolve now to take back their community despite the propaganda that the Special Security Consultant was attacked because men of the Ebubeagu Security Outfit were shooting indiscriminately which we know is not true.

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