JUST IN: Anambra; Tension in community as youths protest insecurity

Youths, including aged men and women of Isuaniocha community in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State on Wednesday, protested over alleged land grabbing, imposition of traditional ruler, hoodlums invasion and other issues fuelling disunity, crisis and insecurity in the community.

The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions as they blocked the gate of the Anambra State Government House, chanting songs of solidarity while calling on Governor Chukwuma Soludo to give them urgent attention by resolving the crisis rocking their community.

Tension heightened in the community since Saturday following the invasion of some suspected hoodlums who opened fire on police operatives who were on a peacekeeping mission in the area.

The hoodlums were said to have stormed the area in three tinted Hilux vehicles, One Lexus 330, three shuttle buses and a Toyota Corolla car on Saturday evening, thereby creating panic as road users, motorists, shop owners and residents scampered to safety.

The leader of the protesters and acting President-General of Isuaniocha, Fredric Egwunwa, pointed out that the state government had failed to keep its promise of setting up a committee to look into the matters that have been fuelling crisis in the community for over eight years. Egwunwa said, “The people totally reject the imposition of a traditional ruler on them by some few individuals who have been selling school lands and committing other atrocious acts in the town.

“Isuaniocha community has a laid down procedure of choosing who their traditional ruler will be and never a time was it done through a kangaroo election. This is fuelling crisis and insecurity in our community, the reason we have come to express our grievances.”

The Chief of Staff to the Anambra State Government, Mr Ernest Ezeajuyi, while addressing the protesters, assured them that the state government would pay utmost attention to the unresolved crises in their community with a view to ensuring that lasting peace is restored.

The Commissioner of Police in Anambra, Mr Aderemi Adeoye, who said he got a hint that some persons wanted to pull down the gate of the Government House, said under the Nigerian Constitution, 1999 as amended, individuals and communities were guaranteed freedom of speech, association and that the people had a right to be heard.