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Anambra Police detention of 5 children sparks off angry reactions

By VINCENT UJUMADU

THE detention of five under aged children of a community leader and Chairman of Uruebo village, Nkwelle Ezunaka in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State by authorities of the 33 Police Station in the area almost caused a riot in the station, forcing the police to release them immediately.

The children, Chigozie Anyakora (three), Chidumebi Anyakora (six), Ifechukwu Anyakora (eight), Mmelichukwu Anyakora (10), Chidera Anyakora (14) and Somtochukwu Anyakora (15), were arrested along with their mother, Mrs. Joy Anyakora, 40 and grandmother, Mrs. Cecilia Anyakora, 65 and taken to the Police station where they were kept behind the counter until people raised eyebrows and questioned the rationale in bringing such children to the Police station.

*Children being detained by the Police in Anambra State.
*Children being detained by the Police in Anambra State.

Their father, Mr. Ambrose Anyakora, who is is also Chairman of a vigilante outfit, is being detained elsewhere for allegedly possessing a gun. He was also accused of being a kidnap suspect.

As people sighted the children at the Police Station, there were sighs and murmurs, with many asking why such juveniles should be exposed to police brutality. Some of the people who had followed the family to the police station almost caused a stir as they cursed and threatened to cause riot in the area if the children were not released.

Sensing what was likely to happen, the Divisional Police Officer, Mr. John Mark, a Superintendent of Police, CSP directed another Police officer, Sergeant Stella Osadebe who was said to be the person that arrested the children and their mothers,  to allow them to go, while their mother and grandmother and their eldest brother, Somtochukwu, were detained.

One of the children, Ifechukwu said they were in their house when the policemen came and put them in a vehicle and brought them to the station. He said: “We did not do anything. I don’t know why they brought us here. We were afraid because of the guns we were seeing.

“The Police had earlier taken away our father and for a long time, we have not seen him. We do not know where they are keeping him and we do not know why they are holding him,”he narrated.

It was gathered that members of the family of Ambrose Anyakora were arrested for allegedly assaulting one Andrew Obimma and his brother, Charles Obimma and stealing their Samsung Galaxy handset valued at N60,000 and an LG handset valued at N40,000. They were also alleged to have damaged one safari suit valued at N25,000, a shirt valued at N8, 000 and light pointer of a jeep valued at N25,000. The detainees were also accused of assaulting Charles Obimma by hitting him with a stick and dragging him about. They were later charged to court on a six count charge of stealing and assault.

The Anyakora family’s ordeal was said to have started when, as the Uruebo village chairman, their father, Ambose refused to give out the community’s land for the setting up of an adoration center in the area. He hinged his refusal on the claim that the land is a communal land.

Besides, one of the Obimmas was alleged to be interested in becoming the Chairman of the community because the chairman, Anyakora, was becoming very stubborn.

At the time members of Anyakora family were being detained by the police, their breadwinner, Ambrose, was not aware of what they were passing through as he is still being detained outside the State.

Counsel to the Anyakoras, Mr. Emmanuel Ezemenari described what was happening to his clients as man’s inhumanity to man.

“It is unheard of that at this level of our development, the police could take under aged children to the Station  and keep them behind bars and then list trumped up charges against their parents,” he said.

The presiding Chief Magistrate, Mrs. S.N. Emejulu has however granted the Anyakoras bail and fixed further hearing to March 19, 2014.


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