…Teachers on the run
The Rundele High School, Agba -Ndele in Emohua Local government area of Rivers State has been shut down after unknown gunmen invaded the school and took away four persons, two teachers, an NYSC member and the school labourer. Paul Obiajunwo visited the community and reports that while teachers are on the run the community members are living in fear.
The people of Agba-Ndele community in Emohua Local government area of Rivers State have been living in anxiety and fear following the insecurity in the area. The community which is surrounded with river linking them to Abuah and Abonnema was recently invaded by unknown gunmen who abducted two staff, an NYSC member and a non-academic staff of Rundele High school.
As of when this report was filed the abductors were yet to contact the victims’ families but a source in the community who pleaded anonymity said the teachers were victims of the politics of development in the area. He revealed further that the neighbouring community does not approve the building of the high school at Agba-Ndele from the onset and have been looking for ways to shutdown the school.
And if what the source said is true then the enemies fighting the community have indeed succeeded in closing down the school if not permanently. This was because as of the time The post visited the community every teachers both indigene and non-indigene has fled out of the community for fear of unknown. The worst of it is the non-indigenes who have vowed not to return to the community again except measures are put in place to checkmate insecurity in the area.
The Elders, Chiefs and the wife of abducted school labourer including teachers who escaped from being abducted gave more revelations on the abducted saga and the insecurity in the area. Those abducted include, the school labourer Mr. Joseph Dimkpa Wofurum, the NYSC member simply identified as Azubuike, the two teachers Christie Mbadigwe and Martha.
One of the teachers who escaped abduction Mr. Anwuri Akpenuchi Stanley said he ran for his dear life when he saw 15 gunmen in military uniforms who stormed the school with A-k47 rifles. He confirmed that five members of the school were abducted and one of them was later asked to go back because of the bleeding from the wound they gave him.
Anwuri said two academic staff, an NYSC member and school labourer were presently held by the abductors after one teacher was abandoned close to the waterfront where the abductors boarded a speedboat. “It was a very big incident that happened; I am a son of the soil but even as I am taking to you now we are being careful with our movement. All the teachers of the school ran away after the incident. As the form master of JS 3, I went there to take my roll call. I was in the staff room, the first period has ended and between three or four minutes to 9: am. I saw people running around in the school compound. They were all scared so I went out of the staff room to investigate what was going on. I saw about 15 hefty men in army uniform they told me not to run but I had to escape. They invaded the community through the river. After the incident happened they took away five of them, they injured one and later dumped him when they discovered that he was bleeding seriously. After they left we took the responsibility of reporting the matter to the police station at Rumuji. Before we got there they have already informed the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) about the incident so they gave us the permit to go and treat him, so we treated him.”
Another teacher Mr. Awute Sylvester Denis who was given the beating of his life for trying to resist abduction said he was asked to go back by the abductors’ commander because he was seriously bleeding. While thanking God for not being among those being held by the abductors he noted that the gunmen men were heavily armed when they came to the school
Denis said when the people arrived the school premises they were shouting all over the place, hold them hold them. “At a time they surrendered me with their arms, they told me not to run. I made an attempt to run through the window. When I got to the other side I met another person. The one that told me not to run became angry and hit me with the gun and I felled down. He told me to follow them, on getting to the water side where they had their speed boat ready. Their leader saw how I was bleeding and became angry over their action on me. Luckily he told them to search me and take away everything I had. So they took away my phone, the money I had on me and asked me to go. And they took the other people entered the speed boat and left. I think the community needs to do something about the insecurity of the area.”
The wife of the abducted school Labourer, Mrs. Dimkpa who was crying while speaking with The post said she was not around when the husband was abducted. She pleaded with the abductors to consider her five children, poor husband and release her spouse to her. But the Chairman, Community Development Committee Elder Ikechi Chimezie who spoke on behalf of the chiefs and elders of the community said they are working hard to ensure that the victims were free from the hands of their abductors.
He called on the government to assist the community to ensure the freedom of the victims and the reopening of the school as to allow the children of the community continue with their studies. He said the only remedy now is putting hands together with the elders, the youths, the CDC everybody as to reason out the way forward to get these people free.
The CDC Chairman said the school is the only government presence in their community, “that school is the only thing we have in this community and now that the school has been shut down. All the teachers are packing out of the community; the community cannot get anything good again. Imagine when there will be no school for a term or years what will the children do, they will have to trek from this community to the next which is about three or four miles away. For children to go to school with that distance it’s not possible that is why we are calling on the government to come to our aid and see what they can do about the issue of unemployment which is causing this issue of kidnapping. Before you will know they will ask for ransom, look at this village, do you think they will be able to raise two or three million? Look at the women selling garri that is just 1,200 is that what we are going to use to pay for the ransom.
“The teachers are scared, one of them is our own son they all come from different local governments of the state, all of them have decided to move away from the community. We don’t know what to do than to call on the government to come to our aid and help us. On our own we can’t do more than what we are doing now, we are dialoguing begging the parents and the relatives of those who were victims of the incident. We have the river that links Abonnema, we have the one that links Abuah so we don’t know where this thing might have come from. Although we are not laying blames on anybody as it stands now we are only calling on the government to come to our aid.
The Vigilante Chairman of the community, Mr. Clifford Dimkpa said they cannot tackle the insecurity in the area without the help of government, “I want the government to help and bring some security personnel to this community. We want peace and without security I don’t believe the people would be at peace. I was in my house when I heard gun shots so I had to run down to the school premises. When I got there they had already gone, so I went to the staff room and spoke to one of the teachers and asked what happened and he said he cannot explain at the moment that the tension was too much for him. But I called the police to brief them what happened in my community.”
The police at Rumuji Community in Emohua where the matter was first reported said only two person were abducted as of the time they got to the scene, adding that the ongoing investigation may reveal more. But the Rivers State Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO) Mohammad Ahmad, a Deputy Superintendent of Police said the command is aware of the incident, adding that they will do everything within their powers to safely rescue the victims.