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I'm not a gun runner - Ephraim Nwuzi

Posted by The Port Harcourt Telegraph on 2005/07/07 | Views: 404 |

I'm not a gun runner - Ephraim Nwuzi


The Chairman of Etche Local Government Council, Hon. Ephraim Nwuzi has said he is not a gun runner.

The Chairman of Etche Local Government Council, Hon. Ephraim Nwuzi has said he is not a gun runner.

Nwuzi who reacted to a recent newspaper report (not the Telegraph) stated that there is no truth whatsoever in the allegation that he bought guns and gave to some of the boys said to have been involved in the recent crisis at Umuechem.
Apparently, the chairman had come under fire from opponents over what they claim is his effort to end the disturbances there.

But as he noted, whatever role he played in the Umuechem saga was influenced by his responsibility as the chief security officer of the area.

He urged the Umuechem people to embrace peace and shun violence.
His words, " I still advice the people of Umuechem to forgive one another and live in peace."
"I do know", he went on, "that their problem started in 1990 before I became chairman."

"The author of the report should have exercised restraint and waited for the police to finish their investigation on the issue before dashing to the press", Nwuzi insisted.

He acknowledged that arms had been discovered, alleged that those guns had been found at the home of one Emeka Odu and stressed that the police had been deliberately misinformed.

A group of boys who were on their way to Port Harcourt to deliver guns that may have been called to action in Umuechem had been arrested by police on a false tip-off

Nwuzi appealed to Shell to come back to Umuechem and continue projects that they abandoned in the wake of unrests there, stressing, "we are assuring them of security when they return."
He advised the people of Umuechem who were yet to return to the community to do so.

On what he would do to assist the innocent victims of the Umuechem clash, the chairman noted that he would try to implement a building project similar to the one that has been erected at Umuanyagu to house displaced persons.
In the case of Umuanyagu, according to what we have found, a number of 5-bedroom flats are springing up.

Also speaking the Community Development Chairman of Umuechem community, Kelvin Agbam explained that he came in as CDC chairman in February 2005 to meet the disturbance.

Providing a background of how it all happened, Agbam revealed that it "arose from a faction that divided into two about September last year. They used to be together until the issue of chieftaincy and who would be the Ochimba divided them."

According to the CDC chairman, those who were not in support of Chief Nelson Amadi, one of the aspirants to the Ochimba throne were allegedly driven out of the community and their properties burnt.

Alleging that one Emeka Ordu was the leader of one of the factional teams, Agbam hinted, "they also drove him out of the community."

He recalled that in December, "those who were driven out overpowered those who were in the community and drove them out."

The incident, he further explained led to the collapse of the CDC which was headed by Alozie Nmeni with Augustine Nnadozie, PRO, and Emeka Ordu Secretary."
The CDC chairman who revealed he sought divine intervention said he organized a peace crusade in which leaders of Pentecostal churches were invited to officiate.

Said he, I conducted church crusade when I stepped in because I did not believe that the constant feuding was an ordinary occurrence.
Agbam hinted that in April, it was generally agreed that every one outside the community should return to join the peace process.

But he noted that one Chidi Onwuka, a youth leader who was driven out at the same time with Emeka ordu refused to embrace peace.
In his words, "they came with guns and knives from Ordu's house and began shooting in the night. As a result there was fighting and they were overpowered before they ran out."

He lamented that the regular face-offs within the community have retarded development and progress and forced Shell to abandon projects that were under execution..

In his reaction, Prince Otamiri refuted claims that Etche people are arms runners.

"Etche people are not arms runners. Agriculture is our way of life and we are proud of our place as the food basket of the state", Otamiri remarked.
Turning attention to the Umuechem crisis, Otamiri intoned, "It has been an internal matter that has lingered for long."

"In 1990", he went on, "Umuechem people were sacked from their community because of their protest which was to get Shell to provide better facilities."
On that occasion, he recalls, Godwin Abbe, an army colonel gave instructions to the police to wipe out everything in sight.

He blamed the action of the administrator or the incessant clashes

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.