villagers mourn as 21-year-old lady meets untimely demise

A dispute between two families over the true ownership of a goat in Uhuanya Umuhu, Awgu Local Government area of Enugu State might have claimed the life a 21-year-old lady, Ebere Egwu.
Although the police in Enugu are still trying to get to the root of the matter and pin down the actual killers of the girl who was taking the on-going West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE), the family of the deceased said they strongly suspected one of their neighbours who had threatened the deceased just a few hours before she was murdered following a dispute over the ownership of a goat.
Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu told our reporter in Enugu that the police have commenced full-scale investigations into the alleged incident that led to the untimely demise of Ebere.
Police confirmed allegations by the family of the deceased that one of the sons of their neighbour (names withheld by us) had threatened the deceased during a quarrel between the two families hours before she was killed.
Amarizu also confirmed the arrest of the suspect whom he said was helping the police in their investigations, adding that the body of the deceased has been deposited at the General Hospital, Awgu for autopsy.Narrating the story of what happened to our reporter, the grandfather to the deceased, Mr. Okoye Onuoha (with whom Ebere was staying before her death) recalled how they were drinking outside that Friday, April 13 when the issue of the goat cropped up.
He spoke further: "Before then, I had wanted to erect a fence round my compound but they said I could not do it even when I did not have immediate boundary with them."So, that day, they came to claim my goat, and this is a goat that was delivered in my house and I have been nursing it. At a point, my wife even asked me to castrate it, but I said no. That was the same goat they came to claim."They went and tied a piece of cloth on the goat and our other neighbours were asking my wife if that was not our goat."We caught the goat and removed the cloth and used a rope to tie it near the house. They still came to confront me that the goat was theirs. As we were still arguing, one of the members of the family came with a machete and cut the rope with which I tied the goat and took it away."
The murdered girl, Ebere, was reported to have reacted at this point, telling the suspect that what he was doing to her father was wrong, and accusing him of always insulting the old man in spite of his advanced age.The suspect was reported to have threatened her, warning that he would beat her to death if she was not mindful of how she spoke to him.
Pa Onuoha continued: "After that confrontation that evening, there was a heavy rain at night. And by the next morning we found the dead body of the girl dumped by the side of the road."Ekwutosi Onuoha, a cousin to the deceased who corroborated the old man's narration, recalled that his father had suggested that they take the goat to the oracle to confirm the actual owners. But he said the other party refused.
Speaking on the incident, Chief Stephen Onuoha (JP), the prime minister of Awgu Town, also recalled how an alarm was raised that morning that a body was lying somewhere along the road.
"I went there myself and I was able to identify the victim. It was like a dream but she was dead. We reported the matter to the police and they carried the corpse. They are now in the process of investigation."He narrated how he used a gong to gather the villagers over the matter. "Everybody condemned that act. Whoever that did that will not go unpunished. We are asking God to ensure that they are brought to book." He stressed the need for a thorough investigation to forestall a recurrence.
Chief Onuoha called on the government to come to the aid of the community by beefing up security in the area. He explained that as a border town, Awgu is exposed to various crimes."We call on the commissioner of police in Enugu to send us more policemen. You know we live at the border with Ebonyi, Anambra, Imo, Rivers and Abia. So we need more security in this place."On our part, we are not sleeping. We are taking steps to fish out criminals amongst us and flush them away from the community. I also want to ask God to protect the life of the mother and the entire family because they have nobody. Apart from God, they have nobody and that is why we have volunteered to ensure we help out."Mother of the deceased, Mrs. Blessing Egwu who said Ebere was the last of the family's six girls noted that she has handed the case over to God.
Said she: "I went with her to sell food that day. So after we had closed, she started going to her grandfather's place because she was part of those taking WAEC exams. And because there is always noise in our own house, she preferred to go there so she could read. And it rained that day. In the morning, they came to tell me that they found her corpse."God is all I have and I call on Him to handle the situation himself. Let him fight for me. Because when these children were very small, their father fell sick and died. I suffered and trained them alone until they are now helping me out in my business. Now they came and cut her life short. They squeezed her throat and hit her head severally with stone. But I know my God would fight for me."
Daily Sun

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