Police attack peaceful protesters in Owerri

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–    Manhandle Hon. Uche Onyeagocha, provide adequate security for pro-Okorocha group

The former member of the House of Representatives for Owerri Federal Constituency, Hon. Uche Onyeagocha was among some Imo citizens manhandled and brutalized by the Imo police command on Monday December 18, 2017 in the wake or commencement of a week long protest by two groups one in opposition to Okorocha’s tyrannical rule and the other in support of the APC led government, anti democratic rescue mission.

An eyewitness account of the incident yesterday told our correspondent that the Imo People’s Action for Democracy (IPAD) led by its co-ordinator, Comrade Aku Obidinma had begun its peace protest at Wetheral Road, Owerri displaying placards with various inscriptions and with a miniature effigy of governor Okorocha. When they got to Douglas road Owerri close to Fidelity Bank Plc, and near the now devastated and burnt new market Owerri, they were accosted by the police who laid ambush and teargased them.

One of the victims of the renewed police brutality as assault, Chilos Godsent narrated how his colleagues were beaten, maltreated with all their placards and other items seized. He also disclosed that Hon. Uche Onyeagocha who was invited to the DSS head quarters a few days ago in connection with the proposed protest where he was drilled for six hours before he was released, over a newspaper publication, was singled out for physical assault during the Douglas road Owerri incident. Inspite of the police action, remnants of the group converged at the new market location chanting anti rescue mission songs and averred that Okorocha has destroyed Imo State.

Some of the placards carried by the protesters read ‘No more statues” Kpuo-Onwegi, conduct local government elections”, “Imo says no to “tyranny”, and so on.
The leader of the group Comrade Aku Obidinma while speaking to our reporter confirmed the ugly incident and encounter and expressed disappointment over the action of the commissioner of the police Mr. Chris Ezike even when we had applied for protection, they had to use tear gas on us including the innocent minors in our midst”.

Attempts to get Hon. Uche Onyeagocha to comment on the development proved abortive. While the IPAD group was having it rough with the police at Douglas road Owerri, the Pro Okorocha/Buhari group led by Pastor Frank Onwumere, were in the office of Sir George Etche the Secretary to the Government of Imo state, under adequate police cover and protection in efforts to drum support for Owelle Okorocha’s administration.

Meanwhile the leadership of Imo Peoples Action for Democracy (IPAD) has issued a release calling on the federal government for the immediate redeployment of the state Commissioner of Police Mr. Chris Ezike for having lost confidence in the people.

In the release, signed by Comrade Aku Obidinma, Marjorie Ezihe and Chido Onuma, the group said that it wants to inform the world that Imo State unfortunately has become a fascist state where freedom of expression and assembly is no longer guaranteed.

Earlier, a radio announcement over the state owned media IBC Radio/TV station by the police had confirmed that it received applications from the two protesting groups and advised that in view of the yuletide festive mood, the groups should reschedule their proposed protest rally dates. 

Unfortunately, for Okorocha, before the detachment of Imo Police Command could round up the IPAD powered protest march, the photographs are video chips of the ugly effigy of the Governor had gone viral on facebook. To further demonstrate its support for anti-democratic forces, Imo Police command had over the weekend provided protection for some 5000 members of a certain Okorocha mandate group led by the younger brother, Iyke and the newly appointed commissioner for happiness and couple fulfillment, who is also the younger sister to the Governor, Ogechi Ololo. A former strong supporter of Ifeanyi Araraume who introduced himself as the Director General of the mandate group, Chinwe Obinna from Ngor Okpala, said they were rallying behind Okorocha as the prospective successor of President Muhammadu Buhari come 2023.

Governor Anayo Ethelbert Okorocha who personally received the group gave indication of his preference for the pressure group an indication that he may be looking the way of Engr. Chuks Ololo from Ebelu-Obube in Owerri North LGA instead of Uche Nwosu his son inlaw. Okorocha also announced that he will go back to school after 2019 to prepare to take over from Buhari in 2023.

Meanwhile, OurMumudondo, in a statement issued yesterday and signed by Comrade Precious Nwadike and Comrade Nathan Anaele, state chairman and state publicity secretary, respectively, the group condemned the harassment of the protesters by officers and men of Imo state police command.

They said, though OurMumudondo was not part of the protest, the Imo state chapter of the human rights group frowns at the idea of firing tear gas canisters at unarmed people exercising their constitutional rights by engaging in a peaceful and non violent protest. They called on the relevant security agencies to be more civil and professional in the discharge of their duties, and avoid being willing tools in the hands of politicians.   


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