Anambra community seeks end to alleged brutality, harassment of natives

Community leaders from Nteje, Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra, have called on the State Government to save the natives from incessant brutality and harassment by security operatives.

They made the call at a news conference on Friday in Awka.
The conference came on the heels of last Thursday’s alleged invasion of the community by suspected security operatives.
The spokesman of the community, Mr Martins Okechukwu, said that seven persons, including the acting President-General of the community, Chief Benneth Chinweze, sustained gunshot wounds during the attack.
He said that the president-general was presently lying critically ill from bullet wounds he sustained from the attack.

He also said that one Oluebube Anukwu, who was among the seven persons that sustained gunshots, had passed on.
He said that five others were undergoing treatment in different hospitals.
“Before now, Nteje has been a peaceful community.
“However, we have been faced with incessant attacks and arrest of our people since the past 10 years,” he said.
Okechukwu accused a prominent native, Chief Mike Nwakalor, who allegedly specialised in land grabbing, of being the mastermind of the incident.

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He further alleged that “some privileged persons” in the community were using security personnel at the security checkpoints in the area to harass the residents.
Meanwhile, the acting president-general, who spoke to newsmen from his hospital bed in Awka, described his experience in the hands of the securitymen as “harrowing”.
Narrating his ordeal, he said: “I was on wheels when some persons on masks double-crossed my vehicle and ordered me to park and come out of my vehicle.

“They forced me into their Hilux Van, tied my legs and hands and blindfolded me before they began to beat me like a common criminal.

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“The incident took place on Thursday, June 16, but it was on Friday, June 17, that I regained consciousness in a hospital.
“As you can see, I cannot raise my two hands or use them to eat or bath.
“I am just helpless here as you can see,” he said.
Chinweze, who doubles as the regent of Nteje, accused Nwakalor of being behind his ordel.
He alleged that before he lost consciousness, his assailants accused him of always insulting Nwakalor.

“They threatened to teach me a bitter lesson, if I don’t respect myself,” he said.
When contacted, Nwakalor denied any involvement in the June 16 incident in the community.

He also denied being involved in land grabbing, adding that he had no land dispute with any person in the area.
“I have 200 plots of land between Nteje Park and Umunya and the property is not in dispute because I have my Certificate-of-Occupancy.
“As a community leader, I heard what happened and upon investigation, I was told that a petition was written against Chinweze.
“I learnt that he attempted to evade arrest when security operatives came for him.
“I further gathered that those who got gunshots tried to block the operatives and got injured during an exchange of gunshots,” he said.

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The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, said that the command was not aware of the matter.
Ikenga advised those involved in the matter to come up with information that could help the police to handle the case. (NAN)

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