WOMEN of Ozzu–Ndiukwuenu community of Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State, Monday, embarked on a protest at the Anambra Police Headquarters, Awka.
The women had protested against what they described as constant harassment by the police over land dispute in the area.
National Light gathered that two men, Raymond Egwu, the catechist of St. John’s Catholic Church, Ndiukwuenu and Vincent Nwafor, were arrested by some policemen allegedly brought from outside Anambra State police command at the instance of some people allegedly fighting the community in respect of the 8,500 hectares government-owned Mamu Forest Reserve in the area.
Sources said that the land was donated to Anambra State Government some years ago as a forest reserve, but the community alleged that some people in the area had connived with some state government officials to allocate parts of the land to individuals, who, in turn were selling same to people at exorbitant prices.
The women alleged that those at the center of the illegal land deal work with the police to intimidate the people..They disclosed that it was during one of the raids that the police arrested the catechist and one other person on Friday.
The aggrieved women chanted war songs at the premises of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Awka, where the two men were being held and threatened to parade the streets of Awka naked if the men were not released immediately.
Speaking, their spokesperson, Dorothy Onyebarachi, 74, said some of the youths in the area were the problem of the community. She said that they used the proceeds from the illegal sale of the community’s land to intimidate the people on daily basis.
“These people use the police to harass us on daily basis and when we reported the matter to the police in Awka, they brought policemen from outside the state, who came and arrested our people.
“We want the two men arrested to be released immediately; otherwise we will parade Awka naked.
Onyeabarachi continued, “this single action of empowering and rewarding criminality has led to the deterioration of security situation in Ozzu-Ndiukwuenu, such that the community has become inaccessible beyond 8.00pm, as Okada riders are scared to access it due to the nefarious activities of the group.”
Addressing the women, a senior police officer assured them that the two men would be released. He appealed to the women to go home, promising that such would not happen again.