By Chidi Nkwopara
Angry reactions have continued to trail the reported killing of Ejemekwuru youths, during the senatorial campaign tour of Governor Rochas Okorocha to the community last weekend.
Relatives cry as they mourn during a funeral service for 17 worshippers and two priests, who were allegedly killed by Fulani herdsmen, at Ayati-Ikpayongo in Gwer East district of Benue State, north-central Nigeria on May 22, 2018.
Two Nigerian priests and 17 worshippers have been buried, nearly a month after an attack on their church, as Catholics took to the streets calling for an end to a spiral of violence. White coffins containing the bodies of the clergymen and the members of their congregation were laid to rest in central Benue state, which has been hit by a wave of deadly unrest. / AFP PHOTO
Reacting on behalf of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN, South East Zone, the group’s Organizing Secretary, Comrade Agwuncha Izunna not only expressed concern over the report but also said that “the loss of lives were unnecessary and avoidable.
“We are worried because this killing is avoidable if the government of the day rises up to it’s primary responsibility to Imolites, which is the protection of lives and property.
“Look at the two promising young men who were killed. The aspirations of those young men have been cut short”, the NYCN lamented.
While attributing the incident to “the failure of a government that promised to tackle insecurity in the state”, NYCN also fumed that “a situation where Imolites are now feeling that they are not safe in their homes all in the name of political campaign, is not good for us as a people and for our peaceful coexistence.”
In their own reaction, Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption, MIAIVC, described the development as “shocking, unfortunate and most unacceptable”.
According to the group’s Executive Director, Dr. Walter Duru, “the relevant agencies of government must thoroughly investigate the matter and fish out the trigger-happy uniformed men that perpetrated the sordid act”.
Duru said that their preliminary investigation showed that “the youths protested over a transformer said to have been brought by the government during a political campaign in the area.
“They had questioned the rationale behind such a gesture, alleging that he diverted funds meant for the settlement of electricity bills by Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, ISOPADEC, for eight years, leaving the area in darkness perennially.”
Some villagers, who spoke to Vanguard yesterday at Ejemekwuru, maintained that “although a measure of peace has returned in the community, the issue remains very topical”.