The Ebonyi State Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Barrister Uchenna Orji has opened up on the alleged complicity and involvement of Reverend Father Timothy Ngwuta in the ongoing intra communual war between the indigenous people of Effium and the Ezza settlers in Effium autonomous community in Ohaukwu loca government area of Ebonyi State.
A press statement signed by Barrister Uchenna Orji titled, ‘ LEAVE GOVERNOR UMAHI OUT OF THE DISTRESS OF REV FR TIMOTHY NGWUTA’, disclosed that the Governor His Excellency Engr.Chief David Nweze Umahi FNSE FNATE has no hands whatsoever on the matter as it is purely a serious security concern handled by the community and the security operatives.
Accordingly to Orji, the security report made available to government indicates that Rev. Fr Timothy Ngwuta was arrested by the surveillant youths and vigilant team of Nworie village in the warring community when he came in the company of two other suspects on 11th December,2021 to recover a vehicle suspected to have been used to convey some of the armed warriors suspected to have unleashed attack on the security operatives who were in search of the bodies of the 5 NELAN Engineers allegedly killed by kingpins of the warriors.
The press release said, “Our attention has been drawn to series of social media posts and unguided print conversations shared by different uninformed groups over the criminal charge faced by Rev Fr. Timothy on his alleged complicity in aiding and abatting war and killings in Effium/Ezza Effium Community in Ohaukwu Local Government Area. We have refrained from joining issues because of our respect for the institution he belongs.
“While we view it unfortunate that the Rev Father could be involved in a suspicious conduct that led to his detention and prosecution by the Police, we wish to place on record that the Governor of Ebonyi State, His Excellency Engr.Chief David Nweze Umahi FNSE FNATE has no hands whatsoever on the matter as it is purely a serious security concern handled by the community and the security operatives.
“The security report made available to us indicates that Rev. Fr Timothy Ngwuta was arrested by the surveillant youths and vigilant team of Nworie village in the warring community when he came in the company of two other suspects on 11th December,2021 to recover a vehicle suspected to have been used to convey some of the armed warriors suspected to have unleashed attack on the security operatives who were in search of the bodies of the 5 NELAN Engineers allegedly killed by kingpins of the warriors.
“Security report further revealed that the said Rev. Father is a native of Inikiri Umuezokaoha Ezza Effium, a section of the warring community where the suspected attack occurred and it is also on record that he confirmed in his statements to the Police that he went to Nworie village to recover the car suspected to have been used by the armed warriors to carry out the attack that led to the death of two security operatives and others injured during security operations at Nwanenwo forest on the 28th day of November,2021.
“It would be recalled that 5 NELAN Engineers who where on duty visit to the State Ring Road Project enroute Nwanenwo in Ezza Effium axis fell prey to the attack of the armed tribal warriors on the 3rd day of November,2021 and the State Government promptly directed security agencies to declare manhunt on perpetrators.
” The essence of this narrative is to underscore the gravity of the offence that was linked to the Rev Father and to state that justice has limitless jurisdiction and applies to all persons no matter their class or faith. This situation does not call for sensational or sentimental publications or conversations, it calls for sober reflection on the lives that have been wasted and properties lost to these needless conspiracies against humanity in Effium/ Ezza Effium Community; Governor Umahi has unbridled love for the servants of God no matter their faith and he has deep respect for and shared collaborations with the Catholic community.
“The Governor deserves our commendation for his determination that inspired the security operations that uncovered the killers of the 5 innocent NELAN Engineers despite oppressive blackmail from mischievous elements.
“We therefore advise those who take pleasure in politicizing the unfortunate misunderstanding between the two tribes of Effium/ Ezza Effium community for clannish gratificatios to please allow security agencies to do their work. Many people suspected to be behind the crime in Effium/ Ezza Effium are already facing trial and that of Rev Fr. Timothy Ngwuta cannot be an exception. The offfence of conspiracy to promote communal war is viewed seriously by the Laws of Ebonyi State and cannot be sacrificed at the altar of religion moreso as we have not been told that Rev. Fr. Timothy Ngwuta is infallible.
“The public is assured that justice is available not only to the victims, but also to the accused and the society and we have unwavering confidence that justice will be done on the matter no matter whose ox is gored or whose spade is in the garden”, Orji concluded.
It would be recalled that the Catholic Diocese of Abakaliki Ebonyi State, had accused the Ebonyi State government of using executive order to stop the release of the Priest, Rev. Fr. Timothy Ngwuta who was remanded in a federal correctional Center for allegedly complicity in the protracted Effium/Ezza Effium communal war.
The Diocesan Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Matthew Opoke, had earlier said there was ‘Executive Order’ by the State government had made it impossible to secure the release of the Priest, Rev. Fr. Timothy Ngwuta.
“We urge the security forces to do a thorough investigation and ensure that the Priest of God, who has, in conscience, stated before his Bishop, that the accusations are entirely false, is not punished for offenses he knows nothing about.
“Efforts to secure his release on bail have been hampered by the Executive Order preventing any Court in the State from entertaining matters relating to the Effium crisis. Recently the motion for bail was refused on the 12th of April, 2022. We implore all people of goodwill to join us in praying to God to touch those responsible for the incarceration of Fr. Timothy to listen to the voice of the right conscience”, Rev. Fr. Opoke said.
Rev. Fr Ngwuta was arrested by the Police on 11th December 2021 and detained for twelve days and was released on bail as a result of ill health arising from his alleged torture by security agents.
He was rearrested on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, arraigned on 11th March 2021 for alleged kidnapping and murder, and remanded at the Abakaliki Correctional Centre. Since then, he has been in detention at the Correctional Centre. Ends.