March 21, 2023

Igbo leaders in Lagos call on Sanwo-Olu to release detained chief

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By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor

LAGOS—The Supreme Council of Ndi Eze Ndi Igbo in Lagos, yesterday, called on Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the state to release one of their traditional rulers, Eze Chinedu Mozie, detained by the police after he challenged thugs that stopped him and his people from voting in the just concluded governorship and House of Assembly elections at the riverine community of Ibasa Satellite town.

The council alleged Eze Mozie was manhandled and beaten up after he resisted an attempt by the thugs numbering over 50 to lynch him, as he ran into the palace of the Bale of the community for refuge only for the Bale to hand him over to the police, who arrested and took him to the State Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Bureau, SCIIB, Panti, Yaba and is still being detained.

In a statement by the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary of the council, Eze Lawrence Eze, Eze Vincent Iwobi and Eze Edwin Obi, they said the victim and Igbo community have lived peacefully with their host until the ugly incident and wondered why they should be restricted from exercising their constitutional rights in the same community.

According to the statement, “On March 18, 2023, Eze Mozie went out as the leader of Igbo community in Ibasa riverine to exercise his constitutional right of voting. In the course of doing this, he was accosted by Oba of Ibasa community, who bluntly told him that the Igbos were no longer allowed to participate in any electoral process in Lagos State, that it was an order from above.

“Eze Mozie explained that he has the constitutional right as a tax-paying citizen to exercise his voting right in his place of domicile. This explanation fell on deaf ears as the Oba authorised the youths of the community with masquerades to resist the Igbo community led by Eze Mozie from casting their votes by manhandling him.

“In a twinkle of an eye, it degenerated into physical exchange of blows with the use of cudgels, broken bottles, cutlasses and all manner of dangerous weapons by the Oba and his people against the Eze and other Igbos.

“Consequently, Eze tried to defend himself to avoid being lynched and ran into the palace of the Oba, who immediately summoned the police to effect the arrest of Eze Mozie by the police from Panti, while Eze Mozie was bleeding profusely from all parts of his body, unable to walk or talk and he is currently being detained at Panti.”

When contacted, Lagos State police spokesman, Benjamin Hyndai said he would investigate the report.