(Exclusive) Tragic story of 7 gang members of NDDC boss killed in Ohaji/Egbema over cult clash

Engr. Tony Okanne
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(Exclusive) Tragic story of 7 gang members of NDDC boss killed in Ohaji/Egbema over cult clash

By Charity Uwakwe

The true cause of what transpired in Mmahu Autonomous Community in Ohaji-Egbema LGA of Imo State on the 9th day of February, 2022 where seven (7)people were confirmed dead in a deadly cult groups attack, have been uncovered.

The Imo State Police Command had through a press statement titled “murder/suspected cult related activities” 9/02/2022, signed by the command Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), CSP Michael Abattam confirmed the incident as a cult clash between De-Well and De-gbam confraternity.

“One “Ossy,” led about twenty armed men with their faces masked to Mmahu Community in Ohaji/Egbema LGA of Imo State, went to the following identified persons houses namely ; Charles Mgbarahor, Funky Anane, Charity Nwachukwu, Edeme Okoro, Isaac Ojenya, Ndubuisi Nwabusi, and Junior Ifeyinwoke , shot and killed them. The Divisional Police Officer on receipt of this information immediately, mobilised his men and other patrol teams to the area, on arrival at the scene, the hoodlums have deserted the place , leaving seven persons dead”.

“Preliminary investigation, revealed that the killing has elements of cultism. And that “Ossy” is an escapee from Imo Correctional Centre Owerri who is reasonably suspected to belong to a cult group known as “De- Gbam”. While the persons killed are suspected to belong to another cult group known as “De- Well”. The police stated.

In a painstaking investigation carried in the area by our correspondent and other newsmen, a source who identified herself as Chinasa Nwakamma and a trader in the community described the 9th February Killings as a reprisal attack that has lasted more than a decade between the Osy Ogbiri De-gbam group and the De-Well group that is enjoying sponsorship from one Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) director known as Engr. Tony Okanne who is an indigen of the Mmahu community.Engr. Tony Okanne

Engr. Tony Okanne
Engr. Tony Okanne

She furthered that the cult clash got hiked in the community in the year 2008 when Engr. Tony Okanne through his money and contacts overwhelmed the Osy Ogbiri’s family in a land dispute, Osy vowed to kill Engr. Tony Okanne except Okanne disconnect himself (Tony Okanne) from their (Ogbiri) land. Osy having been a notorious De-gbam cult group kingpin, Engr. Tony Okanne converted De-Well cult group and became their heavy sponsor and it resulted to incessant fracas and killings among the two groups including the Killings of innocent people suspected to be supporting one group or the other.

Another source, a motorcycle operator (okada man) who identified himself as Mandy from Umuosua village in Mmahu confirmed that it was a lingering cult clash that degenerated from land dispute between the family of Osy Ogbiri of De-gbam group and Engr. Tony Okanne who sponsors De-Well cult group but that Engr. Tony Okanne masterminded the arrest of Osy Ogbiri in 2008 after series of Killings by the two groups.

A legal practitioner from the community who pleaded to speak under anonymous said” the truth is that everyone from our community knows the truth about the matter. Some people are shining away from speaking out to the press to avoid being the next target. This cult war have been there since 2008, this cult war have sent many young and old souls to untimely grave before Osy was arrested in the year 2008. If not that Engr. Tony Okanne is directly involved in the cause of the trouble, I would have said that he tried in arresting Osy Ogbiri that year because the killing was much from the two groups because from land dragging, they graduated into who dominates our Mmahu Community”.

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He continued ” when Osy was in awaiting trial for 13 years, there was peace in our community, what we had as an issue in our community was what I can describe as manageable Political interest. The truth is that Engr. Tony Okanne is a rich man and currently working in NDDC. I have never seen him submitting to the leadership of our traditional ruler. He has remained an opposition to the Eze to the point that he is dragging to create new autonomous Community out from the Mmahu community. Unfortunately, when this present Government of Governor Hope Uzodimma came on board, Engr. Tony Okanne sees it as best opportunity to dethrone Ezemma or divide the community”.

“The politics aspect of the issue, yes the Ohaji/Egbema House member is related to our Ezemma. Our Eze is too religious and decent. This Engr. Tony Okanne want his younger brother Stanley Okanne to represent Ohaji/Egbema in Imo State House of Assembly. When the Ohaji/Egbema IMC Chairman made appointment of our community leadership via the Town Union, obviously our Eze and the House member Hon. Heclus Okoro rejected the appointment. They see it as imposition because both the Eze and other leaders were not consulted and the appointment was fully influenced by Engr. Tony Okanne. They protested through all legal means but to no avail, the truth also remain that these appointees were Engr. Tony Okanne’s supporters who are in one cult group”.

“Mind you, our Eze rejected the appointment because he was not consulted, he opted for election and he rejected those appointed because they are well known cultists belonging to one group of confraternity. During this period of agreed and disagreed, nobody was killed rather it was a matter of one police invitation to the other. Unfortunately, this Osy Ogbiri was among those that escaped from Owerri prison last year 2021, this boy started the fight that landed him in prison again, killings started again. Because those in the Town Union leadership are Engr. Tony Okanne’s boys from De-Well cult group, this Osy started fighting them that he can not be alive to see De-Well people ruling Mmahu, Incidentally, when Osy picked up this fight against those Town Union appointees, it appears Politically and those who are not from the community sees it as Political war but we know it’s cult war coming from land dispute since 2008”.

Sequel to the Killings, the traditional ruler of the community, HRH Eze A.I. Iwuogu stated in his press release “The latest attempt to bring my name to disrepute is only as a result of a cult rivalry instituted by one Engr. Tony Okanne and Osita Ogbiri also known as Ossy Ogbiri and between two cult groups known as “De Well” and “De Gbam” confraternity, which has been reported and brought to the notice of security agencies before now. This is further confirmed by the preliminary reports aptly captured by the police on the February 9, 2022 massacre. While I condemn the barbaric massacre of the seven (7) persons on the aforementioned date, it is also important for records purposes and to bring to the notice of the general public, the root cause of the cult rivalry in Mmahu Autonomous Community, and subsequent murder of seven (7) persons, including other persons that have been murdered in cold blood before now”.

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“As stated above, the crisis is between Engr. Tony Okanne, the leader and sponsor of “De Well” confraternity in Mmahu and and one Ossy Ogbiri, a prison escapee and the leader “De Gbam” confraternity. The current dispute between the duo which has grown and escalated into a full blown cult war started off as a land dispute between the families of Engr. Tony Okanne and Ossy Ogbiri in 2008 and further caused the murder of several persons on both sides at that time.That Engr. Tony Okanne who was working with the Imo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (ISOPADEC) then was able to use his financial prowess to intimidate Ossy Ogbiri and later succeeded in arresting him with the help of his cronies led by one Mr. Celestine Kamalu. Though he was arrested alongside a member of his gang, Mr. Chimaobi Chimaokwu and subsequently charged to court in 2008, he remained on awaiting trial for about 13 years until the unfortunate incidence of jail break in the Imo State Correctional Centre in April 2021 when he escaped from prison”.

“It is a common knowledge in Mmahu Autonomous Community that the rivalry between Tony Okanne and Osita Ogbiri took another shape last year (2021) after the resurfacing of Ossy Ogbiri in the community. Engr. Tony Okanne and his henchman, Mr. Celestine Kamalu (A.K.A. Sagas) became afraid and uncomfortable and quickly regrouped their cult group and equipped them with sophisticated arms to make sure that their rival, Ossy Ogbiri is eliminated. That in an effort to eliminate Ossy, one Mr. Ozidi Vincent Nwokocha, a cousin to Tony Okanne was killed in a gun battle after their failed attack on Ossy Ogbiri in his house. That further attacks on Ossy Ogbiri led to the death of his brother, Onyekachi Ugwuoha and other people who were killed by both parties last year (2021). A notable amongst them was Chief Anthanius Nwokocha, whose son was among Engr. Tony Okanne’s cult group. That after series of attacks and counter attacks between the two Cult groups, Engr. Tony Okanne and his cohorts were able to oust Ossy Ogbiri from Mmahu Community, while killing his henchman (Odinaka Nwamgbede) whose corpse has remained in the mortuary till date. That even though Engr. Tony Okanne succeed in ousting his rival Ossy Ogbiri from the community, Ossy Ogbiri has continued to plan and carry out several attacks on Engr. Tony Okanne and his boys from outside the community. Hence, their rivalry has continued and this is what further led to the recent killing of seven (7) persons, including some of Engr. Tony Okanne’s boys on the 9th day of February, 2022 by Ossy Ogbiri and his cohorts in Mmahu.
It is worthy of note that, all effort made by the community to settle the matter between Engr. Tony Okanne’s group and Ossy Ogbiri’s group proved abortive”.

By Famous Reporters

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