Monarch demands release of 52 youths arrested over death of policeman in Umunze

His Royal Highness, Igwe Promise Eze Tuesday alleged invasion of his community by men of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), calling on the police to release the youths unconditionally.
This came on the heels of a clash between the youths and the police officers from Zone 9, Umuahia, in which one police man lost his life while 52 youths from the town were arrested.
A middle-aged woman, who recently lost her husband, also lost her life as she reportedly fell on sighting the police in the community.
Properties worth millions of naira were lost during the incident, including two hotels that were razed down.
The state Commissioner of Police; Mr. Garba Umar, said the command would not fold its arms and allow miscreants violate the law with impunity, insisting that the arrested suspects would be charged to court to face the law so as to serve as a deterrent to others.
A statement made available journalists in Awka the CP said: “On March 2, 2018, police officers from Zone 9, Umuahia, were on investigation activities over a petition addressed to the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 9, on a matter bordering on conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace over land.
“However, when members of the team got to Umuenze, the youths attacked them with weapons, and the policemen sustained severe injuries, which resulted in the death of a policeman.
“The area was reinforced by a police team to calm the situation, but the youths were still violent and some of them were arrested. No individual is above the law. We are out to protect the lives and property of citizens and ensure that there is no breakdown of law and order.”
Speaking on the issue yesterday at Umunze, Igwe Promise Eze faulted the statement by the police, saying that his people were not criminals and ought not to have received the kind of treatment meted to them by an organization working for the government.
He called on the Anambra State Government to urgently set up a panel of inquiry,
independent of the police, to investigate the alleged excesses of the police who carried out the act.
According to him, such a panel would not only find a lasting solution to the ugly incident, but would help to arrest the culprits, to serve as a deterrent to others.
The Monarch however said that the genesis of the incident had nothing to do with land tussle as being reported in some quarters, saying that it was rather a fracas between two individuals over a little girl.
Narrating the story, he said: “Trouble began when one of the individuals, said to be a relation to the girl, had accused the other of beating the girl. The accusation triggered quarrel, which culminated into fighting between the two of them.
“One of them lodged a complaint at the Umunze police station and they were later reconciled by the DPO. The same person who pledged not to raise the matter again, reported same to the Zone 9 Police in Abia State.
“The police came and raided the area and arrested the other man, together with some other youths. But instead of taking them to the station here, they took them to Ajali without the knowledge of the DPO.
“They later came back and arrested more youths, some of who were bailed with amount of money ranging from N5,000 to N10,000”.
Continuing the Monarch said that it was the return visit of three of the policemen to the community that triggered the anger of the youths of the community who confronted them and it subsequently led to the sporadic shooting of guns by the police.
He, however, said he had since pleaded with the irate youths to remain calm, assuring them that efforts were being made to find a lasting solution to the fracas.
His words: “The frequent invasion and harassment of the people of the community by the police has continued to pose a source of worry to me and the peace-loving people of Umunze.
“The recent invasion in my community by the police and at odd times for that matter, and the steady arrest of youths, has continued to paint the community and the people in a bad light.
“The action of these police officers does not also speak well of the force and I still wonder whether those who invaded our community are real police officers in view of the calamities they carried out here.
“We are peace loving people and not criminals as they label us and we cannot afford to continue to be on the news for the wrong reasons.”
The traditional ruler maintained that the relationship between the community and the police had been cordial before it suddenly went sour as a result of the recent development.
Monarch demands release of 52 youths arrested over death of policeman in Umunze Monarch demands release of 52 youths arrested over death of policeman in Umunze Reviewed by Odogwu Emeka Odogwu on Thursday, March 08, 2018 Rating: 5

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