Anaku, Omor Crisis:

Corpses Abandoned in Homes after Soldiers Invade Ayamelum Community

By Micheal Nnebife

The people of Anaku Community in Ayamelum Local Government Area, Anambra State, have allegedly accused their neighboring Omor Community of the same LGA, of conniving with soldiers to invade the Anaku. This is even as some burnt corpses of Anaku indigenes lie abandoned in their homes.

On-the-spot investigation revealed that uncertain numbers of the residents, including an elderly woman, Mrs Chidozie; Awusa (nickname); and a blind man, Mr Nnoyeli Egwuata, were burnt beyond recognition. Also, a number of houses and means of livelihood worth millions of Naira were razed down.

Briefing the press, the President General and the Secretary of Anaku Progressive Union, Mr Paul Nwuba, and Barr Anthony Onuora, respectively, appealed to the Anambra State government the Federal Government, and the international community, to come to their rescue.

The President General said, ‘On Monday, 6th February, 2023, as early as 5am, I received a call from people that Omor people invaded us again. Then, getting ready to go and know what the problem is, the next thing was that the army were killing my people, shooting and destroying buildings. Up till now, I am still wondering what their reason was.’

Corroborating the President General, Barr Onuora said Anaku had nothing to do with Omor people, and wondered why Omor, their monarch, and the men of the Nigeria Army attacked Anaku.

‘The military revealed that they only saw a person whose identity was very clear to them that attacked and killed someone in Omor.

To that effect, Omor secured their service and invaded Anaku – set our buildings ablaze and killed so many persons; including  a blind man, Mr Nnoyeli Egwuata, who couldn’t run; an elderly woman, Mrs Chidozie; and Awusa.

‘This has been a routine for Omor Community; they see it as a hobby in attacking other small Ayamelum communities around them. In 1998, the level of destruction they did to Igbakwu was more than what they did to us today. In 2020, they attacked Umumbo. Almost a year after, they attacked Anaku.

‘But we thought that that had gone because the state government came to our rescue by effecting peace between us and them – though they went back and removed all the boundary demarcations. We’re surprised that they still have an attack on us in mind,’ he stated.

The Anaku Community leader appealed to Anambra governor, Chukwuma Soludo; President Muhammadu Buhari, and human rights organizations and the United Nations to visit Anaku to see firsthand, the level of destruction ‘the Nigerian Army caused harmless civilians’.

Barr Onuora also appealed to the government to arrest, investigate, and persecute the perpetrators to serve as a deterrent to others.

Some residents, including the priest in charge of St John’s Anglican Church, Anaku, the Revd Canon Sunday Udegbunam; a former president general of Anaku Progressive Union, women’s wing, Mrs Blessing Orjadi, of the war-torn community, who remerged from their places of refuge and hiding, spoke to newsmen.

‘The grievance of the soldiers is that they were looking for one of them that was missing, as they alleged; and that the town would produce his corpse. On that note, they started burning houses which affected our own shops,’ Revd Canon Udegbunam said, adding that the cost of damage inside his church and shops was up to 50 million Naira.

For her part, Mrs Orjadi said all the items for government skills acquisition programme were burnt by the army, whom, she said, were first seen to have come on a peace mission.

Several attempts to reach the traditional ruler of Omor, Igwe Chidume Oranu, were unsuccessful as he did not pick calls.