By Vincent Ujumadu
AWKA—FIVE persons have so far lost their lives in Nteje, Anambra State and 18 others, including a brother to the popular Nollywood actor, Pete Edochie, are being detained in Abuja over protracted land dispute in the community.
The traditional ruler of the town, Igwe Rowland Odegbo, who escaped being arrested following Governor Willie Obiano’s intervention, has cried out over the alleged incessant harassment of his people by the police from outside the state, regretting that his community was under police siege.
Some of the people killed were still in the mortuary, while most youths in the area had fled from the town and hiding in forests for fear of being bundled to Abuja.
The 18 persons being detained at Abuja SARS are Chief Ikechukwu Edochie, Chief Cyril Nwankwo, Mr. Vincent Okongu, Pastor Vin Nnaemeka, Modilim Nwene, Anthony Ewenike, Dominic Oboh, Sunday Mobi, Paul Aghadinuno,Monday Nwafor and Nwoye Amamchukwu.
Others are Obelagu Mobi, Koife Chukwuemeka, Ogwugwua Nweke, Fidelis Cordi, Ibe Kenneth, Chijioke Anyanti and Uchenna Oraegbunam.
Traditional ruler of the town, Igwe Odegbo said the land dispute in Nteje started when some people organized themselves and became land speculators, adding that they have been illegally selling communal land for many years.
“What has been happening here is that petitions have been flying and arrests made indiscriminately. I really don’t understand why our people should be intimidated by a group and trying to rope in the traditional ruler because someone was opposed to my being crowned the Igwe of Nteje.
“Our community needs help because we are under police siege from Abuja. Those arrested were carried in two buses and taken to Abuja on thumped up charges and I would have been among them if I am not the traditional ruler.”
The royal father suggested that a law should be passed to ensure that police should not come from outside a state police command to arrest people and take them out of that state.