Women block Ebonyi Police headquarters over arrest of husbands, villagers


*They are supporters of evils in our village - accused person

Women from Obegu Azuiyiokwu Inyimegu Village in Izzi Unuphu Autonomous community in Abakaliki Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Friday protested in the state capital, Abakaliki over the arrest of their husbands and other members of their village by the police.

NATIONAL PANEL reports that the village women were carrying fresh palm fronds in their hands, some tying it around their waists and heads protesting heavily with songs while blocking the gate of the Police Headquarters of Ebonyi State Command, Abakaliki.

Speaking with journalists, the leader of the protesters, Mrs Roseline Nkwuda said that they embarked on protest to facilitate the release of their husbands and other villagers being arrested by police because of a case emanating from  a donated portion of land for the installation of transformer in the village by one Mr Sunday Osuaka.

Mrs Nkwuda accused one Mr Okechukwu Nwangwuta, the former Financial Secretary in the village, of arresting their alleged village head,  Mr Sunday Edigbo, the Youth President - Onyi Nwifuru and other five villagers because of the land dispute.

She stated that those arrested by the Police are the innocent people working tirelessly for the peace and progress of the village and appealed for their immediate release.

Another protester, Mrs Chinasa Edigbo, the wife of alleged village head, Sunday Edigbo, narrated that the villagers went to install transformer in the land donated by Mr Sunday Osuaka to the villagers but this was objected by okechukwu Nwangwuta, who has been working leadership of her husband as the village councillor.

She said that the family who donated the portion of land rejected Okechukwu Nwangwuta opinion against the installation of the transformer, alleging that the land does not belong to him or his family.

 Mrs Edigbo said the opposition encountered by Okechukwu Nwangwuta from the original land owners, did not go well with him,  later invited Police and got the seven villagers arrested.

She said the women vowed to continue to block the Police gate till their  husbands and all other villagers arrested being released by the Police, saying they are innocent of the matter.

"That's why we came to the Police headquarters to protest for the release our husbands and all the people in our place because they are innocent of the matter. We can't go home unless they are released," Mrs Edigbo said.

Another woman, Mrs Oluchi Mbam said that since the dissolution of the village councilorship of Mr Samuel Uguru where Mr Okechukwu Nwangwuta served as the Financial Secretary, the villagers remain restless.

She alleged that the said Okechukwu Nwangwuta invited Police to arrest the village head, with resourceful elders and  youth in their place, because he was not allowed to cultivate in already donated land for installation of transformer.

She also stated that the villagers are currently on the run, and even their tenants have started packing out from the area following the commotions and fears degenerated in the village by the camp of Samuel Uguru and Okechukwu Nwangwuta, which led to the arrest.

Mrs Mbam noted that the arrest of the seven villagers by the Police around 12 midnight on Thursday had been protested in all corners of the village, described the arrest of the village head as an uncalled for.

She alleged that Police beat up those arrested, and some were injured, appealing for their quick release because they are innocent of the allegations.

Responding, one of the accused persons by the women, Mr Okechukwu Nwangwuta described the arrested victims as the evil breeders in the village.

He also described the protesters as the supporters of evils in the village.

According to Mr Nwangwuta, the village headship of Mr Sunday Edigbo was dissolved by the Executive Chairman of Abakaliki Local Government Area of the state, Chief Emmanuel Nwangele because of his evil mechanizations, including forceful seizure of people's properties, and the continuous unleashing of mayhems on the villagers with alleged cultists and ex-convicts.

He said, these led to the unanimous move by the villagers to complain the Izzi Elders who supported for the dissolution of the Sunday Edigbo's embattled village headship by constituting a caretaker committee of the village councilorship under Pastor Chinenye Igwe.

Nwangwuta added, "the Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru also helped us to resolve the problem to ensure permanent peace and order in our village, by dissolving all the crisis associated committee including that of the Sunday Edigbo led councilorship and equally constituted caretaker committee headed by Pastor Chinenye Igwe to take charge."

"Key government functionaries including the Secretary to State Government and Coordinating Commissioner, Dr Kenneth Igwe Ugbala, and the Honourable Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace, Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha had equally intervened in this case.  They supported that the dissolution of Edigbo's led councilorship for having soiled hands in corrupt activities and evil tendencies. I must tell you that the protesters are supporters of evils in our village."

He therefore, stated that the arrest of the embattled village head, Edigbo is for the law to take on its cause since he has been allegedly threatening his life with alleged armed gangs and ex-convicts, breeding crimes and making the villagers uncomfortable even after his disengagement from the seat power as the village councilor, saying some of the arrested victims were caught with ammunition.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Mrs Loveth Odah said, she was not aware of the incident. "I'm not aware," she said.

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