Nearly three weeks after the killing of seven wedding guests from Otulu in Oru West Council Area of Imo state, the dust of the dastardly act is yet to settle.
While Government insists that bandits were killed, a mountain of evidence seem to suggest to the contrary.
This perhaps informed the alarm raised by a United States based group, the Otulu Elites League (OEL) insisting that there is a vigorous effort by Governor Hope Uzodinma and several state actors to sweep the multiple murders under the carpet.
The group regretted that after an earlier show of empathy and shock at the slaughter of the wedding guests, the governor seemed to have done a volte face.
The statement signed by Christian Ezinne (President), Ejike Uzor (General Secretary) and four others read in part: “Evidently, we read too much into your cue, because we just learned that you had unilaterally reneged on the said
meeting, even after our leadership in reverence to your position had agreed to meet with you at the government house, and, instead, that you have taken to the air, along with your minions, to amplify the slanderous narrative that the assassinated youths were rather ‘bandits’ and that the DSS – not your Ebubeagu outfit – assassinated them during a legitimate law enforcement raid of the “bandits’ camp”.
“Your Excellency, there is undoubtedly a vigorous and corrupt attempt to sweep the inexplicable and senseless murders of these resourceful young adults under the carpet and our people all over the world are distraught, outraged, and disappointed at this sudden turn of events, especially, where there is ample evidence in the public domain that establishes
conclusively that members of your vigilante outfit (Ebubeagu) committed this heinous acts and that the
victims were not bandits but rather responsible young men who were returning from a traditional marriage rite.
“However, be rest assured, your Excellency, that this narrative concocted by your government holds no water and will neither ameliorate the gravity of the crime committed here nor absolve you of direct complicity in the deaths of every single one of these young lives that was snuffed out prematurely, and we shall speak for their silenced bodies and look to
‘Ali-Oturu’ to torment their killers, starting with the truth of those young men on that fateful Sunday evening until justice is ultimately done in this case.”
The group lamented the degeneration of the civic space in Orlu into a chaotic bed of violence under the watch of the Governor.
The statement continued:”This is truly dangerous, your Excellency! You cannot delegate your solemn duty as the State’s chief law enforcement officer to motor park touts whom you obviously cannot control and expect us to buy into your narrative absolving them without carrying out any form of investigation to determine their complicity or otherwise in the unprovoked massacre of innocent citizens who were going about their normal business while asking us to disregard the contemporaneous and
corroborated accounts of the victims and eyewitnesses who stared down the barrels of those lethal weapons of war with
which they were indiscriminately mowed down on that fateful day.”
The group challenge Uzodinma to present superior evidence to justify his denial and insistence that the young men killed were bandits.
It read:”Moreover, what countervailing evidence have you proffered that could possibly negate the damning testimonies of the survivors or even begin to absolve the sacrilege that Ebubeagu committed openly and notoriously on our land? Why the stupefying denials and web of disinformation with total disregard for the compelling and incontrovertible evidence that your vigilante
apparatus carried out the massacre of innocent young men who were engaged in a legitimate social activity, literally, on your very doorsteps?
“The execution-style murders of these young brothers and sons of ours irrefutably confirm the universal principle that when the State acts with impunity and without legal observation, freedoms guaranteed under our Constitution are chilled and our fundamental right to have our civil and criminal justice systems redress our rights are threatened or even foreclosed.
The monster that you created, Ebubeagu, has unleashed unprecedented terror, impunity, and bloodshed on the youths of
Imo State and it is doubtful whether you can put the genie back in the bottle. Entire villages and towns have turned into ghost communities. Their surviving youths have taken refuge in other towns from the marauding Ebubeagu vigilante group that your government proudly sponsors and who has left a trail of state-sanctioned reprisal killings along its paths.
“Accordingly, we condemn without reservation the senseless murders of these young brothers and sons of ours and we unequivocally denounce your continuing egregious narrative that the executed youths are ‘bandits’, or members of a notorious gang, or were killed in a “camp”, or were killed by the DSS –, all of which narratives have been debunked by
irrefutable testimonial and evidentiary facts; and we intend to hold you squarely liable as the Chief Executive of the state
for the murders of those young men.”