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Anambra youths protest against alleged membership of ESN

By Uzoma Nzeagwu, Awka
10 July 2022   |   4:02 am
Youths in Nteje Community, Oyi Local Council of Anambra State, yesterday, staged a peaceful demonstration denouncing the allegations that they were members of the proscribed Eastern Security Network (ESN).

Youths in Nteje Community, Oyi Local Council of Anambra State, yesterday, staged a peaceful demonstration denouncing the allegations that they were members of the proscribed Eastern Security Network (ESN).

The youths about 200 converged on the Divisional Headquarters of the Nigerian Police Force, Nteje, from where they marched through the Onitsha/Enugu Expressway to Awkuzu junction before terminating the protest at Amaokpo, Orukabi village square, Ifite Nteje.

Some of the banners and placards carried by the aggrieved youths reads: “We are not ESN members”, “Police, please beam searchlights on Nteje to uncover evil activities of land grabbers”, “We want peace in Nteje”, “Governor Charles Soludo, Nteje Community need your intervention”. 

Addressing the youths at Amaokpo Orukabi Village square, Ifite Nteje, later, a senior police officer who spoke on anonymity said the police joined in the peaceful march to send the signal that they also want peaceful co-existence amongst the various warring groups in Nteje.

He added that youths all over the world are regarded as agents of peace and development, wondering why the reverse has been the case for close to 10 years. 

The senior police officer further said that Amaokpo Orukabi village square, Ifite Nteje, was picked for the convergence so that God and the ancestors of the community would stand in judgment against those causing crises.

He said:, “It is regrettable that the proximity of Anambra International Passenger/Cargo Airport, Umueri, to your community rather than being a blessing has turned to a problem. Stop this bloodletting, emulate Aguleri and Umuleri people and make peace so that enduring development will be recorded in your community.”

Earlier, leader of Nteje Community Youths, Mr. Chinedu Okechukwu, said they organised the protest march to dissociate themselves from the frivolous allegations that Nteje youths are members of ESN.

Okechukwu alleged that they were labeled members of ESN in the petition sent to security agencies by a faction in the community. 

According to him, based on the frivolous petition, some DSS and military operatives came to the community on June 16 and in the course of the operation shot some people as well as rough handled the community’s president-general.

“As at today, two of the persons, Oluebube Anukwu and Chinazaekpere Areh, who got gunshot injuries have died while others are still very critically ill in hospitals,” he said.

He maintained that landgrabbing was at the centre of the dispute rocking the community, appealing to Soludo to urgently intervene in the matter.

He also lamented that members of the community no longer sleep at home because some people engaged security operatives illegally to harass and intimidate them in order to sell land illegally.