Thursday, December 17, 2015

Biafra: Onitsha residents lament military harassment

Two weeks after the fracas in Onitsha, Anambra State over the agitation for the Biafra state, residents of the area on Monday took to the streets in protest against the continuing harassment by soldiers in parts of the area.

The protesters were led by civil rights groups under the aegis of Campaign for Democracy and Civil Liberties Organisation.

Led by Comrades Uzor A. Uzor and Aloysius Attah, they converged on the Uga junction, Fegge Onitsha from where they marched through Zik Avenue to Owerri Road through Awka road.

They carried placards with inscriptions, "military presence unacceptable to us; release Nandi Kane now; we need peace in Onitsha; FG withdraw JTF in Onitsha; four hours in traffic gridlock because of military check-point unacceptable".

User and Ezekwueme said the protest was aimed at expressing their disapproval of the presence of the soldiers, which had subjected the people economic hardship.

They added, "Extortion has also been part of the intimidation by the soldiers who now have field day harassing the people and asking them to hands up as they pass through the military check-points".

The protesters expressed worry that Onitsha had been turned into a battlefield as a result of military presence to the detriment of the civil populace.

They called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and avert more economic hardship on the people of the area.

The Chairman, Civil Liberty Organisation Anambra chapter, Mr. Alloy Attah, said, "The maltreat innocent citizens, it is beyond telling them to raise their arms, the okada and Keke riders suffer a lot in their hands.

"They arrest innocent people, hound them into their vehicles until they part with some money, they were not called here to terrorise Onitsha residents but to safeguard them.

"They should pull them out and investigate some of these issues; we are on our part compiling our reports on the human rights abuses by these people."

In his reaction via telephone, the Police Commissioner in the state, Mr. Hassan Karma, said the Police would not be distracted by undue sentiments.

Karma who appealed to the public to be patient said it was only wise for the security agencies to exhaust and justify their stay in the area and clear every doubt.

He said the deployment of security personnel in the area had restored peace and normalcy within a short time.

The police boss assured that he would still investigate the case of harassment of people of the area, as alleged.

AbleMoJah® Nigeria.

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