Three members of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in the Ariaria area of Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State have passed on less than 24 hours after organising a crusade in the church premises.
Local sources say an Archdeacon of the Anglican church, Julius Dike, his wife, Agnes, and their house maid, died under mysterious circumstances.
Dike and the other deceased held a crusade within the church premises the previous night before their strange demise.Circumstances surrounding their deaths have thrown the Anglican community in Aba into deep mourning, as no one seems to know what really happened to them.Sources closer to the family say the couple had after the crusade, ate and retired to bed together with their house maid.The following morning, being Tuesday, the priest and his household could not come out to conduct morning service as usual.It was gathered that worshipers who became apprehensive, wondering what was stopping them from coming out, broke into the official residence of the Archdeacon, only to find him dead with his household.Though the source of their death was still to be ascertained, a close source is however, attributing it to food poisoning, as all ate the same meal.The source said the tragedy would have been worse had the children of the Archdeacon who are in a boarding school were around to share the meal that allegedly killed their parents.A worshiper who did not want his name in print is lamenting that neither the archdeacon nor his wife and maid complained of ill health prior to their retirement the night before their tragic end.Police Commissioner, Abia State Command, Janet Agbede, was not immediately available for comments. The police in Aba however, say the incident is being investigated by homicide detectives.
In the mean time, residents of the commercial city have cried out to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, and the Police high command in Abuja, praying them to prevail on police operatives in the area to stop ‘’indiscriminate arrest’’ of innocent citizens.The incessant arrest is allegedly coming on the heels of growing security challenges in Aba and its neighbouring towns in Isiala-Ngwa, Ukwa, and Osisioma.The indiscriminate arrests are said to be connected with the attack on police patrol van at Uratta-Junction in the city which led to the death of a Police Sergeant and alleged looting of armory and killing of a Police Inspector at Omoba Police Division in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area.
Many indigenes of Omoba have left the town and are currently taking refuge in neighbouring towns for fear of being arrested by the police. Some of them are claiming that the police are targeting the youths, and allegedly using insecurity in the area to create a dubious business venture for themselves.
Omoba, according to them, is almost a ghost town, as most people now restrict their movements within their compounds and nearby bushes.
The people who are known for their agrarian nature, live their lives from the proceeds of their farms. But, they can no longer go to their farms, and therefore pleading with Governor Ikpeazu to restrain the police for a sin they know nothing about.
Residents of Omoba and Uratta have raised concerns over the safety of members of their towns as they claimed that they have not been able to establish contact with them since they were reportedly whisked away by the police from their communities.The people who equally feared that their loved ones may not be able to get justice said that it will be against the fundamental rights of their loved ones to be tried without giving them access to any legal representation.Spokesman for the police in the state, Geoffrey Ogbonna, a Superintendent of Police, says he is not aware of any police siege in a community in the state. He, however, promised to look into the matter.