By Vincent Ujumadu, Awka
NO fewer than 200 women from Ozzu –Ndiukwuenu community in Orumba North local government area of Anambra State yesterday stormed the police headquarters in Awka to protest what they described as constant harassment by the police over land dispute in the area.
Two men, Mr. Raymond Egwu, the catechist of St. John’s Catholic Church, Ndiukwuenu and Mr. Vincent Nwafor, were arrested by some police men said to have been brought from outside the Anambra State police command at the instance of some people allegedly fighting the community in respect of the 8500 hectares government -owned Mamu Forest Reserve in the area.
The land was donated to the Anambra State government many years ago as a forest reserve, but the community alleged that some people in the area had connived with some state government officials to allocate parts of the land to individuals, who, in turn, were selling same to people at cut- throat prices.
The women alleged weekend that those at the center of the illegal land deal use the police to silence the people, adding that it was during one of the raids that the police arrested the catechist and one other person on Friday.
Chanting war songs at the premises of the Criminal Investigation Department, CID, Awka, where the two men were being held, the women threatened to parade the streets of Awka naked if the men were not released immediately.
Their spokesperson, Mrs. Dorothy Onyebarachi, 74, identified some of the youths in the area as the problem of the community, adding that they use the proceeds from the illegal sale of the community’s land to intimidate them on daily basis.
She said: “These people use the police to harass us on daily basis and when we reported the matter to the police in Awka, they brought policemen from outside the state, who came and arrested our people.
“We want the two men arrested to be released immediately; otherwise we will parade Awka naked.
“We have been protesting the grave injustice done to us by agents of the state government, who have forcefully taken over our land and bestowed the rights to same in the hands of known criminals from within and outside our community.
“This single action of empowering and rewarding criminality has led to the deterioration of security situation in Ozzu-Ndiukwuenu, such that the community has become inaccessible beyond 8.00pm, as Okada riders are scared to access it due to the nefarious activities of the group.”
A senior police officer who addressed the women, however, assured them that the two men would be released later today.
He appealed to the women to go home, promising that such an incident would not take place again.