Protest rocks Anambra community, monarch accused of leadership imposition

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Indegenes of Abatete in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra state have protested alleged imposition of leadership on the community.

The protesters under the umbrella of Agbaja Abatete Community Association (AACA), also alleged threats to their lives by certain influential persons in the town who were hell bent on replacing the existing administration with an unpopular government.

They appealled to Governor Willie Obiano to call those concerned to order to forstal any break down of law in the community.

Addressing newsmen on Thursday after a meeting with the Police, President of the body, Prof. Ikechukwu Okodo accused traditional ruler of the community, Chief Pius Ezeigwe of single handedly setting up a caretaker committee without regards to the constitution after claiming disolution of his (Okudo) administration.

He said despite the rejection of the said committee by the President General of the community, Chief Moses Chukwuka and the Secretary General, Bar. Silvester Igbeama, the monarch went ahead to swear in the committee even when there was no vacancy.

He said the committee wrote a petition to the Police alleging threat to lives, breach of community peace and plot to conduct election.

Okodo said, “I’ve been President since 3years until we decided to hold a general election which COVID-19 stopped us from holding. But in July 5, I convened a meeting where the association extended my tenure for one month till August 2 to enable us hold the election.

“When we convened a general meeting to think of way forward after discovering we can’t still hold the election as a result of the ban on election by government, we discovered that the venue has been sealed by the police and we dispersed.

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“But one of us, Chief Basil Mbanefo who was among those ignorant of our decision to shift the meeting and went to the the venue was arrested and was brought to the Area Command, Ogidi.

“We came and saw to his bail. They brought out a petition saying that more ten of us were being waited for. That’s why we’re here today in order to answer them. Members of the caretaker committee were also invited.”

Okodo however said the Police discovered their claims of threats to lives, community peace breach and planning an election were false after his group proved to them that the committee was unconstitutional.

He added, “Area Commander asked us to come back on Tuesday next week so that certain relevant persons can be in attendance, including Chief Pius Ezeigwe and the PG, Chief Moses Chukwuka.

“We appeal to concerned authorities to call the Igwe to order. He should be made to behave himself. We are peaceful people, we’re not violent. You can see the elderly men among us.

“He has no reason for stopping us from holding our meetings. There’s no report on attacks on the caretaker committee, even when they have been holding their own meetings.”

“It’s clear the monarch is supporting the committee. He has directed those attending the AACA meetings to go where the committee is holding its meeting and those who sworn them in are not part of the AACA.

“This committee leader, the age grade just graduated last year December. I graduated them. The Constitution says you’ll stay for a year in order to be taxable. So he he’s yet to become a member of the body which he’s coming to impose his Chairmanship on.

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When journalists met the Secretary to the caretaker committee, Engr. Emeka Ofobi for his reaction to the allegations, he simply said, “We’re not disposed to speak to you.”

Reacting, Police Police Relations Officer, Haruna Mohammed said the case was being investigated.

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