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Community petitions Police IG over crisis

… wants Monarch, lawmaker son arrested

By Enyim Enyim
ONITSHA — The people of Ogwuikpele Community in Ogbaru, Anambra State have called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo, to as a matter of urgency, intervene in the protracted communal crisis that has so far claimed lives and property in the area.

Last Thursday, about eight persons, including an 81-year-old man and a boy of 12 years, were reported killed in the crisis.

While addressing newsmen, the community lawyer, Mr. Chugbo Enwezor and President-General of the community, Mr. Alphonsus Akaka, jointly called on the IG to arrest the traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Onyema and his son, Mr. Chukwuka Onyema, representing  Ogbaru Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives,  for their alleged role in the crisis.

Enwezor alleged that the lawmaker had been using his position as a member of House Committee on Police Affairs to influence Police in taking action in the matter, adding that the Police took side with Igwe and his son to arrest innocent and hapless members of the community.

Lawmaker reacts

But in a swift reaction,  Mr Onyema said that the President-General, Mr. Akaka, had exhausted his tenure and that when it dawned on him that he would not be re-elected, he started sponsoring crisis in the community with some people, who have been declared wanted by the Police for the past eight months in the community over sundry offences.    

Onyema said if he could not influence the Police to have a station at Ogwuikpele after six months of writing to request for one, how could he influence them to arrest any innocent citizen of the community.

He added that he could not have sponsored violence in his community last week while in far away Britain, where he had gone with other lawmakers to monitor the British election.
“How can my father and I sponsor people who came to burn our house? Is that possible? The people who invaded the community torched our house and they are the people being sponsored by the President-General and his co-travelers,” Onyema said.

Jailbreak

He said the people arrested by the Police were formerly detained in the Onitsha Prisons before they escaped during the last jailbrake, adding that the Police had been looking for them not knowing that they were the people Akaka has been using to fight his (Onyema’s) father, who is the traditional ruler of the town, over a land matter.

He said that while he was local government chairman, he had no problem with anybody in the community, let alone now that he is a more responsible politician at the federal level, adding  “Akaka has a mere land problem with my father and he wants to bring me into it.”

Monarch’s ‘crimes’

However, Enwezor said the community went before an Anambra State High Court sitting in Onitsha, where they secured victory against the traditional ruler, over intimidation and arrest of innocent citizens of the community.

He added that there is another on-going case at the Federal High Court, Awka, by the community against the monarch, yet last Thursday, he allegedly sponsored some boys who came and unleashed violence that claimed eight lives in the community.

Enwezor further alleged that the community fell out with the traditional when he gave them a bill of  N400,000, which they refused to pay for his failure to give account of how the debt was incurred and when he attempted to foist a new constitution, authored by him, on the town which makes the traditional institution in the community, hereditary.


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