Enugu, Jan. 16, 2022
Some angry indigenes of Umualum Village in Enugu-Agu Achi Community of Enugu State have appealed to Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to save the area from alleged police harassment and random arrests.
The people accused Dr Eric Oluedo, a former Commissioner in the state and titleholder, representing the village in Igwe-in-Council, of using the police to harass innocent members of the area.
At a protest in the community on Sunday, they displayed placards with different inscriptions, such as “All we need is democratic Umunna”, “We say no to the tyranny of Dr Eric Oluedo” and “Please Gov. Ugwuanyi rescue us”, amongst others.
One of the leaders of the protesters, Mr. Sunday Umeh, said the only crime he committed leading to his arrest was that he supported the conduct of a prayer crusade in the village.
Umeh said that the crusade was organised to seek the face of God over the failure of most youths in the village to succeed in life.
He alleged that police operatives in the area were being used to terrorise them because they wanted to worship God and seek divine solution to their common problems.
A Youth Leader, Mr. Kingsley Oluedo, confirmed that two people were arrested, while five others were invited by the police.
He urged the governor to prevail on the former commissioner to stop using the police to harass them.
Mr. Chiagoziem Udegbunnam said that youths in the village were being locked up almost on a daily basis on the alleged orders of the former commissioner.
“We now take refuge in neighbouring communities as no one is sure of who will be the next to be arrested and thrown into the police cell,” Udegbunnam said.
The Catechist, Assumption Catholic Parish in Enugu-Agu Achi, Mrs. Victoria Nwankwo, alleged that Oluedo had converted the only communal palm plantation and source of revenue to the village to his personal property.
“This development has further worsened the hardship of the people, especially those of us living in the village,” Nwankwo said.
In a reaction, Oluedo denied the allegations, adding that he was a well-known peacemaker and international chartered mediator and arbitrator of peace.
Oluedo said he had nothing to do with the alleged arrests or using police to harass anybody.
He said that the locking of the village town hall was done in conjunction with the government, village and the security agents, to end the use of the complex by some criminal elements for their crimes.
“Also, I have for long hands-off the palm plantation I was being accused of hijacking and at no time did I personally benefit a kobo from it.
“They can make inquiry from the present village executives,” he said.
Oluedo said that he had before now contributed greatly to the development of his village and impacted greatly on lives of most of the people.
According to him, these falsehood and unfounded allegations are meant to dent my image.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Daniel Ndukwe, said the command would investigate the allegations.