By MESHACH ENE Abakaliki
THE Chairman of Afikpo South Council, Eni Uduma Chima has criticized the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Ebonyi State Commissioner of Information and Orientation, Uchenna Orji for the stance on a recent killing of a youth in the council.
The Executive Secretary of NHRC, Anthony Ojukwu had blamed the Anti-Covid 19 Taskforce in Afikpo South LGA for the killing, while Orji defended the NHRC statement and attributed to a clash between youths in Ekoli-Edda and Nguzu-Edda communities.
The LGA boss said that the Taskforce did not kill, witness the killing or was present during the killing of anybody on March 27, 2020 and the said killing has nothing to do with the enforcement of COVID-19 measures, rules and guidelines.
According to him, the commissioner “exonerated the State Anti-Covid 19 Taskforce in Afikpo South, but inadvertently substituted the Taskforce with an innocent party and reconstructed the circumstances and scenario of the incident. It failed short of its intended purpose of putting the buck where it belongs.”
He claimed that he saw and interacted with the victims of the suspected armed robbers, interviewed eyewitnesses and the Police officers investigating the incident.
Uduma explained that the soldiers related their accounts and it synchronized with other reports that pointed to soldiers as being responsible for the killing of March 27 in Afikpo South LGA.
“It was all connected with a lengthy armed robbery operation and subsequent shoot-out between the suspected armed robbers and soldiers,” he said.
In a statement, the local government chairman dismissed the positions of the Human Rights Commission and the Commission of Information as inaccurate.
He stated: “It is either the source of the information was deliberately mischievous or no independent fact-finding, verification or confirmation of the information was undertaken by the reputable Commission before heading to the press.
“The State Ministry of Information and Orientation and the Commissioner are not known for churning out unreliable information at any time.
“However, the version of the killing in Afikpo-South Local Government Area on March, 27 narrated by the Commissioner for Information on April 18 2020 is far from correct.”
He held that there was no communal youth conflict between youths from Nguzu Edda and Ekoli Edda communities over the curtailment of burials scheduled in the area.
The Council Chairman noted that Orji was either not well informed on the matter or was informed by an unreliable source or was deliberately misled by his source, thereby giving rise to the distortion of facts and circumstances of the killing as they relate to cause and parties.