The people of Abagana in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State have disagreed with the Nigeria Police that 23 of their kinsmen arrested by security agents were terrorists.
The state command of the Nigeria Police had published the arrest in a national daily with pictures of the suspects, describing them as terrorists.
Reacting to the report, the Abagana Welfare Union (AWU), in a statement signed by its Acting President-General, Chief Ben Ugha, described the report as false and the handiwork of mischief makers who succeeded in deceiving the police to believe their claims.
Ugha said that there were no terrorists in Abagana and accused the Anambra police commissioner of taking sides with a party in the land dispute between Ukpo community and Abagana.
He said that the police commissioner was aware that Ichie Austin Ezudu and others as representatives of Ukpo community sued the late Chief Augustine Ezenwa and others of Abagana Town over the said land in Suit No. A/74/95 and that the judgment given in favour of the Ukpo community was appealed by his kinsmen in Appeal No: CA/E/86/2012 and Motion No: CA/110M/2015.
According to him, the people of Abagana are shocked by the “brutal and militant invasion of their homes, the violent and brute arrest and criminalisation of their responsible, respected and worthy sons as suspect terrorists.”
Ugha added that the publication and the statement of the police commissioner were not only “devoid of truth, deceptive and deliberately published to portray his office and his men as being effective, smart and efficient.”
He gave the names of those arrested by the police as Chief Eugene Anene, a reputable transporter and a leader in the National Union of Road Transport Workers Union (NURTW) and Chief Amobi Ezekwe, an international businessman, known for his fearlessness. He said that they were arrested in the comfort of their homes and not in any hideout as claimed by the police.
Others are: Mr. Stephen Ezichiegwu, a major distributor of drinks and sundry items in Eke Abagana, Mr. Charles Nwazoje, a businessman in Abagana, who was arrested in Aba by the Ukpo Vigilante men and handed over to the police and 10 members of staff of EM Petroleum, Abagana, who are not from Abagana. He said they were arrested to embarrass and incriminate Chief Emmanuel Nwude, who is also a leader in Abagana community.
Ugha said: “It is important to note that all the people were arrested in the presence of witnesses at noon, no ammunition or dynamite was found on them. Where was the hideout where they were nabbed and from where did the AK-47 and the dynamites obtained?
“We, the good people of Abagana affirm our faith in the country with unshakable belief in the rule of law; we believe that nobody, whether swimming in the oil bloc of Nigeria is above the law. We are not unaware that anybody has oceanic and prodigious financial, liberal propensity that can command security agents to blackmail our people.
“We are urgently appealing to the Presidency, the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, the National Assembly, the Acting Inspector-General of Police and other Nigerians to save our people who are so dastardly blackmailed, humiliated by the police, illegally detained and denied access to lawyers, bail and medications,” he said.