On June 11, this year when Mr. Jessy Okenwa, aged 65, decided to join other members of Ogbozinne Akpugo community, Nkanu west council of Enugu State to honour an invitation at the Enugu government house, he had hoped the visit would help lay to rest some lingering issues that had unsettled the area.
The invitation was to settle issues bothering on alleged illegal high fees for burial, marriages, forced labour among others allegedly imposed on the community by the traditional ruler, Igwe Stephen Okenwa (now late).
The father of six, a welder, at Agbani road had travelled to the village where he joined several other community members for the appointment, but little did he know that the two legs with which he walked into the waiting bus would not be employed for such services in the near future. The car driven by his monarch’s driver was allegedly deployed to “run over” him, thus shattering his two legs.
The journey from Ogbozinne road had progressed smoothly with several hired buses and private cars by members of the community until Amodu-Awkunanaw road, where unknown to the delegation, their monarch had laid an ambush for them with several police hilux vans and armed policemen and ordered that they return to the community.
It was gathered that the refusal of the people to return ordered led to a free-for-all between the Igwe, his men, the policemen and the people. In the melee, the monarch was said to have ordered his driver to “run over” Okenwa, leading to the crushing of his two legs.
Jessy was said to have passed on, a development that enraged the crowd, who in self-defense overwhelmed the monarch and his men and gave them some beating. While the monarch was rushed to the ESUTH Teaching hospital, where he died few days after, Jessy was carried to government house where he was revived. He was later referred to the National Orthopedic hospital, Enugu, where he was kept at the Trauma unit.
With lean resources, he was discharged. Since then, Jessy has continued to reel in pain, as he would neither walk with his two legs nor raise the funds to continue treatment at the hospital.
Lamenting his situation, Jessy said he has been abandoned and could only feed his family by the efforts of his wife. “I can neither walk nor work. I had several jobs at my shop but I have not carried them out because I cannot go anywhere,” he cried.
He called on the state government to come to his rescue and intervene in the matter to enable peace reign in the community, adding that it was wrong for the police to “continue to arrest people when a judicial panel of Inquiry has been set on the matter”.