Tension In Orlu As Police Invade Umuna Community,Arrest Town Union Leaders Over Land Dispute

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CP Rabiu Ladodo
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What started recently as a family feud over a parcel of land, may soon blossom into a full scale war between youths of Uzoubi community in Umuna clan of Orlu LGA, and security operatives of the Orlu Area Command if urgent measure is not taken.

This is following the assault and detention of two lawyers, the community secretary and subsequent manhandling and hospitalization of the community’s oldest man.

An eyewitness account revealed that, as a result of an early morning invasion of the community on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, by men of the Orlu Area Command, 15 members of the Umudinwasi community, including the oldest man and his son who is also a lawyer are currently being detained in the police cell.

The community legal adviser, who tried to wade into the feud and solicit release of those arrested and detained, was also manhandled, a situation that could have sparked-off crises between the youths of the area and the police but for the quick intervention of some passerbyes.

A source close to the community and an eye witness account narrated how the incident that nearly blossomed into police community feud started.

He stated that, at about 5am yesterday, armed policemen in plain clothes invaded and banged furiously at the door of one Ibeneme, as his household was about to resume morning devotion and the occupants mistook them for armed hoodlums as they peeped through a window to see men with one Samuel Uwakwe, his kinsman.

He said, initially, the family had raised alarm, shouting for help, as there were sporadic gunshots, but when they saw Samuel accompanying the police men, they knew that the intruders were actually policemen invited by Samuel Uwakwe, who had land dispute with them.

He however disclosed that the dispute had since been settled by the community elders and traditional rulers, as well as the clan head who had appealed to both parties to sheath their swords and allow the elders sort out the controversies surrounding the land matter. He showed our reporter a copy of the letter of Arbitration from Umuna Development Assembly (UDA), signed by the President, Chief Columbus Nwadike and the Secretary, Mr Sabastine Ohiagy, dated April 1, 2019, also copied to the police, which they had just received before the police invasion.

According to our source, when the police arrived at the early hours and following the alarm raised by Stanley Ibeneme’s wife, some neighbours and members of the local vigilante group with local gun, rushed to the scene. On sighting of the policemen with superior guns, they dropped theirs and fled the scene.

It was at that point that the police began a mass arrest of anybody that showed his head and were later reported to be collecting between N10,000 to N20,000 to release anyone arrested, whereas bail is pronounced free.

In another development, the mother of the 29 old matchet cut victim, Mrs Maryann Azubuike, whose son Obinna was severally wounded and is receiving treatment at Zina hospital Umuna, has sent an Save our souls letter to the Commissioner of Police in Owerri.

The woman is appealing to the Commissioner for a quick intervention, as there are envisaged a frame up of her son, whose only crime was that, he tried to intervene over a dispute on the mode of disposal of refuse in their premises during which he became a victim of severe matchet cuts.

In her letter, the woman disclosed that the quick release of the “assailant suspect”, after two days in detention, the media was subsequently attracted to the episode as the suspect reported himself to the police and was released without proper investigation and prosecution, while the matchet cut victim was still unconscious and writing in severe pains.

She revealed that following media report of the incident by an Owerri based Newspaper on March 22, 2019, the IPO, Mr Isa of the Orlu Area Command, had been threatening Obinna Azubuike’s life.

Mrs Azubuike in her letter revealed that some persons have already been conscripted to testify against her son, who happens to be the bread winner of the family.

As at press time, it was yet to be confirmed whether the Commissioner of Police, who just resumed in Imo state, has acted on the save Our Soul Petition, by the distressed woman.


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