Hundreds of women and youths from Nnadi Nsude community in Anambra East local government area of Anambra state (South East) on Tuesday stormed Awka, the state capital to protest against the arbitrary detention of their sons by the Nigeria Police Force.
They alleged that their sons were arrested on the orders of one Senator Alphonsus Igbeke, aka Ubanesse and that the issue has gone on since November 2022.
The women chanted dirges such as – “Iwe! Iwe!! Iwe!!! Iwe n’wekwe unu…na Ubenesse Egbuogo – meaning that they are angry and sorrowful that Senator Ubanesse has killed them.
“We are not hiding our faces; let him imprison all of us. Enough is enough. The police should release our children and urgently investigate the enforced disappearance of our eight children caused by Senator Alphonsus Igbeke, aka Ubanesse and police collaborators,” one of them said.
“We want an end to Ubanesse’s tyranny in Nnamdi Nsugbe. He can’t continue to make our youths disappear and at the same time use operatives of the Nigeria Police Force to hound our youths who oppose his tyranny,” one of them decried while marching through the streets of Awka.
Last December, two youth leaders identified as Chidi Akudo and Charles Obodoechina had been detained by the Anambra State Police Command since November 13, 2022, without committing any offence.
It had been reported that the community decried that the “offence” of the two youths was that they obeyed the elders of the community to clear bushes along the power line that brought electricity to the community after a two-year blackout “so that our people can celebrate the Christmas and New Year with light.”
They had in a Save-Our-Soul (SOS) sent to SaharaReporters, stated that the decision to clear bushes along the power line that brought electricity to the community came after their youths living in the Diaspora contributed money to pay Enugu Electricity Distribution PLC to restore power to the community.
They felt that since the community was without electricity for two years, it was wise to clear the bushes that had already encroached around and on electric poles.
The community said they were surprised that while the youths were clearing the bushes along the electricity line, some thugs used by one Senator Alphonsus Igbeke, aka Ubanesse and some policemen from 3-3 Police Station swooped on them and injured some.
One of the community elders said, “While most of them escaped, Ubanesse’s thugs grabbed the two leaders of the youth and handed them over to the policemen which the Senator brought.
“They were first detained at 3-3 police station for three days before transferring them to State Criminal Investigation Department in Awka. Till today, these boys have not been granted bail or charged to court. What is their offence? The police said that Senator Igbeke ordered that they should be charged for vandalising EEDC property.
“The youths did not vandalise EEDC property. We have tried everything possible to bail them out, but Ubanesse uses his connection to intimidate us.
“After transferring them to the State CID, our elders and women visited the commissioner of police to seek the release of those boys but instead they were referred to the deputy commissioner of police in charge of the state criminal investigation department. The deputy commissioner has refused to release our youths despite several appeals. He has also refused to charge them to court either because Senator Igbeke hasn’t directed so.”
Another member of the community said, “Ubanesse Igbeke is trying to charge them for vandalisation of EEDC property. We have written to MD EEDC Enugu and they told us that Ubanesse is dragging them into the case to be the complainant.”
The protesters lamented the inhumane treatment the lawmaker, who also hails from Nnadi village, had allegedly meted out to the people, adding that they will not be intimidated.
“We have no road, no hospital, no school, no electricity, not even a chemist shop located in the community all because of one man. Senator Igbeke, after serving out his tenure in the Senate retired to Nsugbe and made himself a land committee chairman. Since then, he has been terrorising the community,” one of the protesters said.
Calling on the Inspector-General of the Police to rein in the Force’s corrupt officers in Anambra state who have allegedly been sharing community assets with the senator, the protesters demanded the immediate release of their youths.x