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Ughelli community in disarray as vigilante leader is reportedly killed

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By Joshua Williams

There is pandemonium in Evwreni Community, Ughelli North council area of Delta, following the alleged death of the former community vigilante chairman, Tuesday Okuah.

Unconfirmed reports say Okuah died in the custody of the monitoring team of the Inspector General of Police in Abuja.

At least three houses and two cars were reportedly torched by angry youths who stormed the community around 5 pm on Saturday.

The immediate past President-General of the Evwreni Kingdom, Olorogun Victor Ohare, was said to have been shot by the armed youths.

The youths were alleged to be members of the community’s vigilante group, which was dissolved following the murder of Sylvester Adjogbe, younger brother to ex-NDDC Executive Director of Projects, Samuel Adjogbe, in July 2020.

Okuah, the former vigilante leader, alongside three others, were recently arrested in connection with Adjogbe’s killing.

Evwreni community has been entrenched in a leadership dispute.

While leaders of the community have refused to speak on the matter, a source said news of Okuah’s death came in Friday night on the guise he committed suicide in detention.

According to the community source, Okuah in company of the traditional ruler of the community, HRM Oghenekwevwe Kumane and five others namely K. K. Kumane, James Asakpa, Ochuko Kumane, Kelly Omojugheri and Stephen Atiri, were all invited to Asaba by the IGP team for further investigation before they were moved to the Force Headquarters.

“The late Okuah in company of Ochuko Kumane, Kelly Omojugheri and Stephen Atiri, were all taken to Abuja by the team for further investigation.

“It was while in custody that he was killed with the police claiming that he committed suicide while in detention,” the source disclosed.

One of the destroyed houses reportedly belongs to Alhaji Mumaika, former Chairman of the Delta State Muslims Pilgrimage Board.

It was gathered the youths had mobilised to burn down the homes of former governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Olorogun O’tega Emerhor and former NDDC EDP, Engr. Adjogbe but were repelled by security operatives.

When contacted, the Delta Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hafiz Inuwa, confirmed the uprising in the community, stating there has been no official confirmation of the former vigilante chairman’s death.

Asked if the perpetrators suspected to be the disbanded vigilante group of the community had been arrested, he said: “Is it vigilante members who perpetrated the act? Are they being disbanded? I am yet to know because I have not heard it from the local government chairman.

“Those acts were perpetrated by mob action from the community people. As I speak with you, nobody alleged that these are the perpetrators. But I will find out from the DPO if any arrest has been made or not”.

Speaking further, the CP stated: “I heard about the three houses and that happened before the Police’ arrival. Up till now, even I cannot confirm the death of anybody because I have not heard it officially. But we have taken measures.

“Immediately we heard that youths became enraged and wanted to start fomenting trouble, we quickly got in touch with the DPO A’ Division, Ughelli and the Area Command to mobilise men to move to that place and to ensure that lives and properties are protected.

“As I speak to you, it was not long I directed the DPO and Area Commander to move more men to that place because up till now we cannot confirm with all authority, that that death actually happened.

When asked about condition of the others also invited for questioning, Inuwa said: “you know I am here in Asaba and it is not Delta state that is investigating the matter. So I cannot speak for those people who are far far away from Delta”.