By NBF News

Masquerades disrupt immunization exercise in Enugu
Friday, March 12, 2010
The current round of immunization exercise in Enugu State was marred due to violent attack on two female immunization officials in Ozalla Community, Igbo Etiti LGA.

Daily Sun gathered that a female field immunization official and her boss were violently attacked by dagger brandishing masquerades, inflicting severe stab wound on the former and causing serious harm to the boss.

A reliable source close to the victims told Daily Sun that the incident, which took place on Sunday, brought the immunization in the area to an abrupt halt to the detriment of mothers and children who were waiting eagerly for the exercise. Both victims whose names were given to Daily Sun as Ezeora Mary, the health officer in-charge of immunization and Ene Onyinye, are receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital in the area.

Apparently irked by the barbarism of the offending masquerades, the traditional ruler of Ozalla, Igwe Ezeja Akubue Obodoeze, convened an emergency meeting of his cabinet and the town union and slammed a sanction on masquerades in the town. When our correspondent went to the Igwe's palace, he was told he had gone to Ogbede the headquarter of Igbo Etiti LGA. At Ogbede, the royal father condemned the action of the masquerades and disclosed that it was by a hair's breath that they escaped ostracism and beating from the villagers.

'We are so angry that we have to ban display of masquerades in the community indefinitely,' the royal father told Daily Sun, adding that the two culprits were in police custody. Attempts to reach the chairman Igbo Etiti local government, Chief Ignatius Idike, either personally in writing or on mobile phone, was abortive. His aides told Daily Sun that he was too busy, presiding over series of meetings.

The Divisional Police Officer, Igbo Etiti Divisional Police Station, Patrick Chukwujekwu (ASP), confirmed the arrest of two suspects named Ibuchukwu Mbah and another, 'I was not around when the incident occurred but we have since arrested the suspects, the DPO told Daily Sun . We gathered that in 1996, over 100 houses were burnt, including the Igwe's palace, in a clash between masquerades and the Catholic Church in the area.

Only late last year a masquerade was crushed to death by a vehicle along the Orba Road Nsukka urban while extorting money and terrorizing passers by.