A clash between the Anti-coronavirus Taskforce and youths of Nguzu community in Afikpo South local government area of Ebonyi State has left one person dead, several others injured and properties damaged.
The Taskforce was monitoring the level of compliance of the state government’s protocols, which included a ban on burials, weddings, religious and social gatherings when they were reportedly attacked.
According to reports, the Taskforce members were attacked by youths on the orders of the lawmaker representing Afikpo South West constituency, Hon. Nkemka Okoro Onuma, who was hosting an event.
After repelling the initial attack, the Taskforce allegedly, retreated and returned reinforced, which led to a bloodier clash.
The Council Chairman, Uduma Chima, accused the lawmaker of sponsoring attacks after his fear of a reprisal forced him to organize his people to protect him.
He insisted that Onuma was to blame for the death of Chidi Agwa-Arua, the boy who died due to the lawmaker’s inability to control his people who raised a barricade and engaged security men in a gun battle.
Chima noted that that the youths refused to heed the order of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) to disperse, “before the Police went and reinforced.”
He continued: “When the security men returned to remove the blockade, the youths thought it was the Taskforce people and they started shooting. The soldiers returned fire and killled one person and the others fled with two of them sustaining bullet wounds.
“The soldiers did not deny killing the boy. They have made statements both to the Army and the Police authorities. Onuma should take the blame for the boy’s death. Why did he allow the youths to mount barricades in front of his compound to protect him while they robbed people and vandalized vehicles.”
The lawmaker denied holding any public event against government directives and alleged that the thugs the Chairman brought and not soldiers killed the boy.
He said: “I simply had visitors and if that was an offense, then I stand convicted. There was no canopy or music mounted in my compound.
“The taskforce started parading as early as 8am. They passed so many times and did not enter my compound. One of them came around 4pm, and started asking people in my compound why they were loitering.
“They beat him up and he left only to come back with a squad of thugs. The boys in front of my compound did not cause any blockade.“