Before now, Agwa as a clan in Oguta LGA, Imo State is known to be a peaceful and loving place to live and do business.
The people are predominantly farmers and still among other clan that are contributing to boost the economic base of the state through agriculture and the use of their farm produce to provide food for the people of the state.
However, the ugly trend of insecurity that befall Agwa in the recent years and up-till this very moment, emanated from the involvement of some youths in certain communities of the area, in what is locally known and called “Igba Ifuoo.”
This uncharitable development gradually moved from one town to the other unchecked, by those saddled with the responsibility of managing the affairs of their respective towns and communities. The situation lingered to the point that those involved in the dastardly act gained ground in almost all the nooks and crannies of the towns and villages.
In the beginning, the business looked so lucrative to those that started it. But sooner, than later, the outcome of the so called trade was unimaginable to most families that lost their loved ones in the process of carrying out “Ije Ifuoo”
Since it is commonly said that in every good thing that there must be a bad side of it. And when the bad side of the trend became glaring to those in the business, they had no option than to fall back to their respective communities and began to form cult groups to seek relevance in a place they have already lost their integrity.
The Ezeship tussle and the subsequent installation of some Royal Highnesses in communities that have vacant stools by Governor Okorocha, allegedly provided the opportunity for some desperate individuals who sees the miscreants as available tools to achieve their selfish interest in Umukpo and later in Mgbala. They were as well alleged to have sponsors, not just spirit. Hence the reason for the guns and audacity to unleash terror on their innocent fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, fellow youths and above all, destruction of houses and looting of property.
This has become an incessant situation in Umukpo town since January, 2008 after the discovery of oil in the area in 2007and lately in Mgbala as well. Since the destruction of lives, houses and property have become the order of the day, particularly in Umukpo, once the two cult groups clash. Most people had no option than to abandon their homes for safety.
The latest development in Umukpo before the last clash of December 31st, 2015 and that of 1st January, 2016 was that the innocent youths who refused to be identified with any of the cult groups were forced to do so by one of the groups or risk being chased away from the community.
The number of deaths and destruction of property that have been witnessed in Umukpo and recently in Mgbala cannot be quantified. The most disheartening aspect of the ugly situation is that about 80% of those involved in this heinous act are youths of below 25 and 30 years of age, which implies that they may not have mold even a single block in their respective homes.
Rather, they chose to cause so much pain in the lives of the living and even the dead in a land they were born and brought up in. The scenario therefore, implies that there may not be any meaningful development again in a community where fear of the unknown and uncertainty have become the order of the day.
If the last administration of Chief Ikedi Ohakim had paid any attention to the matter when it first started, the level of death and destruction that have been recorded in Umukpo would have been put to a halt.
Although Governor Rochas Okorocha may have his deficiencies in governance as a human being, but the truth has to be said that the role Okorocha played and still playing in Agwa insecurity saga, particularly in Umukpo from the inception of his administration as the executive governor of Imo State, are quite commendable.
The approval and the ongoing construction work at the site of Agwa Divisional Police Headquarters are sure proofs of Okorocha’s commitment to the peace, stability and development in Umukpo and Agwa in general
The recent visits of the state commissioner of police, CP Taiwo Lakanu, that of police area commander, ACP Francis Bisong and the deployment of police patrol team in Mgala and subsequently in Umukpo have tremendously helped in restoring the hope of many. Even though, some residents are still skeptical, that the boys may not come back to unleash mayhem to them when the patrol team leaves Agwa.
This uncertainty in the mind of many has made it difficult for such persons to think of reconstructing their damaged homes or even return back to squad with other returnees in the area. It, therefore calls for the extension of the patrol team’s tenure or duration in Umukpo and Mgbala in order to completely nip the activities of the miscreants in the bud.
The people of Agwa and Umukpo to be precise are deeply appreciative of Okorocha’s kind gesture to their plight through the state commissioner of police, the area commander and other well meaning Imolites, for their relentless efforts in ensuring the return of peace and stability in Agwa.
The way and manner the patrol team has been handling the issue of the cult boys and other related vices in the areas is worthy of commendation. Arrests have been made by the police team and the immediate transfer of suspects to relevant authorities for decisive actions. It is now left for the court to look at the issues before it and take a stand, while the police will continue in its quest to return sanity in the land. To most people, the approach of the patrol team in handling the activities of the cultists turned hoodlums is exactly what the situation requires to rid the clan of criminals and cultists without fear or favour.
All the traditional rulers in Agwa Clan are expected to continue in their unflinching support to the patrol team and open doors of reconciliation for genuinely repentant cultist(s). Town unions’ chairmen and youth leaders are as well expected to work in synergy with the clan traditional rulers to continue to assist the police patrol team, particularly in the affected areas through information dissemination and provision of an enabling environment for the police to carry out its duty optimally.
The effort of Hon. Gerald T. Mgborokwu, the Caretaker chairman, Oguta LGA to ensure the speedy take-off of the Divisional Police Headquarters in Agwa, the strive of all branches of Agwa Central Union in the construction of a permanent site for the divisional headquarters and other sons and daughters of Agwa, should be lauded and supported.
This gesture, if truly supported by all and sundry in Umukpo, Mgbala and Agwa in general will go a long way to restore confidence in Agwarians at home and in the diaspora that they can come back to their father land and sleep with their eyes closed.