Wednesday, January 26

Crisis looms over gruesome murder of farmer in Anambra community

By: Awesome Ekene

Tension has risen in Ayamelum local government area of Anambra state following gruesome murder of Mr Okoye Tagbo, a middle-aged farmer by yet-to-be identified assailants.

The deceased remains was found in a shallow grave near the scene of the attack with head, heart, hands, feet and genital missing, fuelling speculation that he was murdered by warlords from neighbouring Anaku community.

Anaku and Omor communities have remained at daggers’ drawn over ownership claims of the disputed border farmland. Amidst efforts to resolve the lingering land tussle, abduction and killing of Omor indigens by suspected Anaku youths have continued to ignite tension with the recent incident in mid-May 2021 culminating in wanton destruction of property in both communities.

Mr Tagbo who hails from Umuokpanta, Orenja village in Omor was said to have gone to his farm close to the disputed farmland near Anaku-Omor boundary to harvest cassava on January 10, 2022 and never returned.

The family reportedly raised alarm when the widower with nine children failed to return at nightfall, forcing the village to launch frantic search for him.

The eventual discovery of Mr Tagbo’s headless body in a shallow grave inside his farm with vital organs, including hands, feet and genital missing sent shockwaves across Omor community.

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“We found Tagbo buried in a shallow grave in the farm where he was harvesting cassava. The dead body, which we exhumed in the presence of police and military operatives that joined us in the search was without head, genital organ, hands and legs and the heart”, a close relative of the deceased, High Chief Johnson Ifejika disclosed.

According to him, the decapitated body of the victim has been deposited in the mortuary while the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Anaku, ordered Anaku leaders to produce the suspects behind the murder.

Meanwhile, the traditional ruler of Omor kingdom, HRH Igwe Dr Chris Oranu Chidume, has condemned the constant abduction and killing of Omor indigenes by suspected Anaku people for alleged ritual sacrifices.

“This continuous killing of Ndi-Omor is certainly not a welcomed development. I condemn it in totality and so should every well-meaning citizen of Ayamelum because it’s an ill-wind that blows no one good.

“I’m equally ceasing this opportunity to appeal to Ndi-Anaku to do away with this their Ekwensu deity that was demanding for human sacrifice. It’s not a modern religious practice and this constant killing of people is enough reason for them to abolish it and am also appealing to the government to consider abolishing the shrine.

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Eze Anaukwu also appealed to his subjects to refrain from any revenge attack over the incident. “I am asking Ndi-Omor to refrain from any revenge attack and hand over everything to God, including investigation. Nobody should take laws into his hand. It does not pay to do so. Let us have absolute trust in the state government to do justice in this matter.

“To the family that lost their breadwinner, I condole with them and ask them to take heart that God will be with them, while we continue to hope that government will do the needful”, the monarch adds.

It was gathered that tension escalated in the area following speculations that Omor youths had mobilized themselves to launch a revenge attack against Anaku people over Tagbo’s killing.

While some Anaku residents reportedly fled their homes to avoid being caught, a youth leader from Ikenga Village, Anaku reportedly went to police to lodge a formal complaint over the purported Omor invasion of Anaku.

Meanwhile, security operatives have maintained conspicuous presence in the area to avert a violent retaliation of the gruesome murder of Mr Tagbo.

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The Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) ASP Tochukwu Ikenga, who confirmed the incident, said that the corpse has been exhumed deposited at morgue for autopsy.

He said that the cause of the death of the man has not been ascertained as investigation was on to know actual the cause of his death.

He said, “Yes, our Divisional Police station in Anaku discovered a corpse of a man in farm at Omor. For now we cannot ascertain the cause of his death but his corpse has been deposited at morgue for onward autopsy.

“We are calling on the people of the community to volunteer information that will be helpful to the police in the cause of our investigation.

“The place is calm as police command has drafted some policemen to the area to maintain law and order.”

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