Ohaneze Ndigbo has asked the Federal Government to investigate the arrests, detention and arraignment of scores of locals from Ugwuneshi Autonomous community, Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State, by alleged ‘fake solders’ following a clash between the natives and Fulani herdsmen.
No fewer than 76 men from the community were last Thursday arrested and whisked away by “men in military uniform” after they protested the continued destruction of their crops and farm lands by Fula-ni herdsmen and their cattle who settled in the area without permission.
The arrested locals were later dumped at Afara prison Umuahia, Abia State where they are currently in detention.
A source at the Abia State Ministry of Justice told our correspondent that the arrested villagers were grouped into three and arraigned in the court but were denied bail by the magistrates.
The offenses being preferred against them are still sketchy as at the time of filing his report but the traditional ruler of the community, HRH Igwe Godwin Nwobi told our correspondent on phone that they were accused of carrying dangerous weapons.
Nwobi who absolved his subjects of the allegation said that they only protested the continued de-struction of their crops after several years of pleas and warnings which the herdsmen fragrantly disregarded.
Meanwhile, the call by Ohaneze for the investigation of the actual security operatives that arrested the villagers came on the heels of the comment by the Army that the “men in military uniform” that effected the arrest were fake solders.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the 14 Brigade, Ohafia, Major Sydney Mbaneme, had told our correspondent that the “men in military uniform” were not solders.
He said they might be fake soldiers and civilians who camouflaged themselves, adding that “if at all they are solders, they are not our solders.”
The Army spokesperson explained that if the said soldiers were real solders the attention of the com-mand would have been drawn to it, adding that “when such arrest is made, the first thing is to carry out preliminary investigation and inform their various units.”
Similarly, the zonal Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in charge of Zone 9, DSP Emma Jiakponna, had also denied any knowledge of the arrest.