Oriokpa masquerade’s brutality in Nsukka: Open letter to Gov. Ugwuanyi

Protocols,


Your Excellency, Nsukka has outgrown the level of barbarism and sheer brutality on its residents and visitors by Oriokpa masquerades in Nsukka: as it now plays host to strangers of different class, from different tribes of the nation and world over; following the sighting of Nigeria’s foremost institution University of Nigeria in the area.

Without equivocation sir, records have shown that cities banish and send their hostile traditions on sabbatical leave when it becomes inevitable and clearer that development and events have overtaken such mundane and antiquated practice.

Your Excellency, that is the stage Nsukka has attained in the present global realization; by virtue of its population in the state, by hosting a prestigious university in its environ and by wielding of great agricultural capacity in the committee of zones across Nigeria.

Evidently sir, cautions “day by day” have not and cannot remedy the predicament of notorious Oriokpa masquerades assaults, torture, brutality, molestation and general criminality on the people, residents and visitors of Nsukka, the university town of Enugu state.

In the Nsukka of today, as one case of Oriokpa is being investigated, “three or four more” are mounting up; thereby casting Enugu state in bad light to the level of national proportion.

On weekly basis sir, men and women are being harassed, intimidated, robbed & frisked by young boys, who neither understand the importance of culture and traditions, nor have the decorum to propagate same for no reason whatsoever.

And each time this festival resurfaces in Nsukka, no sunday goes by without a reported case of gross and abominable violation of rights to dignity of Nigerians as well as rights of freedom of movement of Nsukka residents and passersby alike with impunity.

Only recently, “two Catholic priests were waylaid and beaten to stupor by daredevil masquerades in Ogbodu-Aba, Udenu local government area.”

“the two priests, Rev. fathers Peter Chikwado Udaya and Daniel Tochukwu Akubue, were attacked on the way to their respective duty posts.”
“the priests were dragged out of their car by a group of masquerades and beaten like condemned criminals;” the daily sun newspapers of 30th january, 2019 carried it.

“Fr. Udaya sustained serious injuries which affected his vision and was referred to a specialist hospital in Lagos while Fr.Akubue had since been treated and discharged.

“In 2016, a seminarian on one year apostolic work at one of the parishes at Orba, in Udenu local government area was attacked by a group of masquerades along Orba/Nsukka road. The seminarian was left with broken leg by his attackers; he sustained injuries and was hospitalized for more than six months:” the sun of same date reported.

“In April 2017, another seminarian, Ezugwu Lawrence escaped death by whiskers when some masquerades attacked him at the Ugwuoye axis of Nsukka town.

The sun newspaper recorded that Ezugwu who was on six weeks apostolic work somewhere in Nsukka was on his way to pay electricity bill at the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), Nsukka district, when he was rounded up by the masquerades and beaten to coma and also had his head severely injured.”

Your Excellency, the horrific and atrocious tales of Oriokpa masquerades in Nsukka, Enugu North senatorial zone, are too numerous to remember or even cite.

But it is unfortunate that in this 21st century some youths in Nsukka area will cover their face and block roads, beating and extorting money from people who are going about their legitimate businesses in the name of masquerades; Prof. Godfrey Onah, Catholic Bishop of Nsukka was once quoted as saying.

In his own words, the state Police commands Public Relations Officer, Ebere Amaraizu, had sometime in April last year, warned that “anyone caught committing offence or wreaking havoc on members of the public under the guise of masquerade festivities will be promptly arrested and prosecuted but that was not matched with actions.

Consequently, the masquerades’ involvement in the acts of robbery, torture and extortion of money from their unsuspecting victims have once again hit Nsukka as residents and visitors are again, running helter skelter; following the festival which is currently in force.

Your Excellency, records have shown that the custodians of culture and tradition in Nsukka have “refused to act” quickly and end this menace; thereby, exposing Nsukka and Enugu state in general to ridicule.

However, this epidemic, which has reached “national proportions, is being presented to the “peace loving governor” of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for immediate investigation, action and remedy.

This petition is made before the governor of Enugu state to not only act on behalf of the people of the state, but to fulfill the obligations of the office – for which he has “sworn an oath” to fulfill upon occupancy.

Yours sincerely,

Gwiyi Solomon,

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