Imo Community Seeks Divine Intervention After Bloody Attack By Herdsmen
DAYS after a clash with some marauding Fulani herdsmen, the people of Akokwa community in Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo State are still haunted by the memory of the many lives lost in that bloody encounter. But in what would appear as a surprising departure from the trend, they have instead of seeking for revenge against the perpetrators of the dastardly act, opted to make peace with God for the role they played individually and collectively in the tragic incident.
For this purpose they recently organised a prayer rally through which they sought for “God’s Restoration and Mercy on the Land”, while appealing to God not to allow such tragic incident happen again. The prayer rally titled “Akokwa Great Prayer Gathering for God’s Restoration and Mercy on the Land” was held at St Peters Anglican Church Field, Akokwa. *Chief Ngoka handing over the key of a Nissan Patrol van to Imo State CP, Mr. Taiwo Lakanu, while other members of the union watch. The community used the opportunity of the rally to discuss the security lapses and deficiency that made the herdsmen attack possible and how to avert future occurrence.
Part of the preventive action taken was to meet the main conditions given by the police authorities, including the building of a well-equipped Divisional Police Headquarters to ensure proper and efficient policing of Ideato North LGA. In his opening prayers, Venerable C.S.O Ukachukwu quoting from 2nd Chronicle Chapter 7 Verse 14, said: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
He prayed to God to forgive the invaders and the people of Akokwa who engaged in retaliatory killings, and heal the land. “We know that any sin we commit affects our land; it is the sins of Adam that kept us in perpetual suffering”.
Still quoting the Scriptures, he declared thus: “In the eyes of men it is not possible for one to love and do good for those who hate us, but for God it is possible to love one’s enemy. People are being killed on daily basis and others commit all sorts of atrocities; all these affect our land, and yet God loves and forgives us.
“We are asking God to forgive us today for the bloodshed in Akokwa; the sins of the fathers affect their children. While we are here for atonement, we have to humble ourselves; we have to pray, we must repent and by so doing God will hear and show us mercy.” Other men of God who spoke during the prayer gathering were Bishop Bartholomew Ibe of Glorious Later Learners Ministry, Rev Fr. Bartholomew Nnorom of St Johns the Cross Parish Orlu, Major Patrick Orasibe, Divisional Commander in charge of Salvation Army, Anambra State.
The organiser of the prayer gathering and President General of Akokwa United Progressive People’s Assembly, AUPPA, Chief Paul Ngoka, said his administration found it very imperative to ask God for forgiveness after the incident because, to him, “Akokwa is for Jesus.” Traditional rulers in attendance during the prayers were HRH, Eze Nnana Lambert of Owerri Akokwa, HRH, Eze Michae Anyaoha, of Umukegwu Akokwa, HRH Eze Charles Ejezie of Akwu Akokwa and HRH Eze Charles Biere of Umuezeaga Akokwa. Handing over the Divisional Police Headquarters built by the community to Mr. Taiwo Lakanu, the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Chief Ngoka said the people of Akokwa spent about N7 million to build and renovate what was formerly Akokwa Police Post into what is now the Akokwa Police Divisional Headquarters.
“Part of the money was also used for fencing the police station, building a gate and security house, renovating the police quarters, providing furniture, equipping the DPO and DCO offices as well as furniture for the exhibit and visitors rooms, and building counters for keeping files,” he informed. Chief Ngoka who was a former President General of Household Utensils Dealers Multipurpose Cooperative Society, HUDMCS, Onitsha, where he also distinguished himself in service to humanity, handed a Nissan Patrol Van to Mr. Lakanu for use by Akokwa Divisional Police Headquarters. “This Divisional Police Headquarters will also serve Uga, Amesi and Umuchu, all in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, who are our immediate neighbouring towns.
Chief Ngoka in his address during occasion said “the police station was initially commissioned by Mr. Leans, an Assistant Commissioner of Police in the then Eastern Region on 27th November 1963 to Divisional Police Headquarters, but the creation of Ideato Local Government Area, with its headquarters at Urualla in 1976, relegated it to a police post”.
He did not stop there. *Chief Ngoka handing over the key of a Nissan Patrol van to Imo State CP, Mr. Taiwo Lakanu, while other members of the union watch. “All the political skirmishes that transpired then are now history, but Akokwa remained focused and undaunted and as God may have it today, we are rejoicing and celebrating the rebirth of Akokwa Divisional Police Headquarters as it was in 1963. The journey for the elevation of Akokwa Police Post to its former position as Akokwa Divisional Police Headquarters, started immediately after the violent clash between herdsmen and some members of the community, which would have been averted if there were enough police men to respond to the distress call by the community when the invading herdsmen struck. “When we demanded for this Divisional Police Headquarters, some conditions were given and we met them and the police authorities sent an inspection team which came and was conducted round; the police made some recommendations which we also met.
“The need for this Police Divisional Headquarters became imperative following the attack on our community by some herdsmen; the porous borders with communities in Anambra State, the presence of Orie Akowka market, banks and economic growth and population also justify the need.” He added: “Knowing that security is everyone’s business, we decided to work in synergy with the police by providing them the enabling environment to discharge their onerous constitutional responsibilities of protecting lives and properties.
Akokwa people in their usual characteristics of being proactive have provided the Nigeria Police with all the things they need in the Division and are ready to provide more. We are also going to build the DPO’s and other senior police officers quarters so they can reside in our town”. In his speech the State CP, Mr. Lakanu, commended the community for meeting all the requirements presented to them before granting their request, and promised to equip it with manpower and ammunition to meet the level of crime in the area and its neighbouring towns.
“We will open a unit of Mobile Police Force and Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS and deploy men of Federal Highway Police operatives to ensure patrol on the Oba in Anambra, Okigwe- Akokwa in Imo state Federal Highway.” The Divisional Police Officer, DPO, in charge of the new Police Division, Mr. Anele Nkemakolam, said: “Akokwa people are accommodating and willing to cooperate with the police in fighting crime” and assured the community and Mr. Lakanu that the Division under him will contribute towards strengthening the security of persons and property in the area. “We will investigate, detect and prosecute offenders within the rule of law, facilitate free passage and movement on high ways, roads and streets in the area and the creation and reinforcement of trust to the police in the communities.”
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