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Police never invited me before my arrest in Church, says Nwosu

By Innocent Anoruo (Lagos) and Charles Ogugbuaja (Owerri)Guardian Nigeria
28 December 2021   |   4:12 am
Governorship candidate of the Action Alliance (AA) in the 2019 Imo election, Uche Nwosu, has said the police never invited him for any questioning before he was whisked away from a church service in Eziama-Obaire...

Photo: Twitter/ Ugwumba Uche Nwosu

• APC cautions Okorocha against tarnishing Uzodimma’s image
• Cleric agonises over police invasion as HURIWA faults Imo govt’s position
• We’ll not support desecration of churches, commissioner declares

Governorship candidate of the Action Alliance (AA) in the 2019 Imo election, Uche Nwosu, has said the police never invited him for any questioning before he was whisked away from a church service in Eziama-Obaire, Nkwerre Council of Imo State by masked police operatives.

In a statement issued by his media aide, Chikezie Nwadike, disclosed that he was released less than 24 hours after and that he didn’t spend the night in police custody.

The statement also refuted speculation that Nwosu was arrested because he refused to honour several police invitations extended to him.

It, therefore, challenged the police to produce a documented proof wherein the police invited Nwosu, adding that the son-in-law of former Governor Rochas Okorocha, confirmed that he was “fine” and thanked Nigerians, who stood by him during the ordeal.

“This is to inform the general public, friends and well-wishers, supporters and sympathisers that Uche Nwosu, who was arrested by security agencies at St Peter’s Anglican Church in Umunwokwe Village, Eziama-Obaire, Nkwerre Council, has been released unconditionally,” the statement reads.

Reacting to the development, Imo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has urged Okorocha to desist from tarnishing the image of Governor Hope Uzodimma with false claims, aimed at securing the sympathy of Nigerians.

The party led by Macdonald Ebere said: “As a party, we advise Okorocha to refrain from his trite shenanigans and doomed efforts to link Senator Hope Uzodimma with his self-imposed and merited predicament.”

The party made the assertion in a statement issued by APC’s Publicity Secretary in the state, Cajetan Duke, pointing out that Okorocha held Imo to ransom for long with the false belief that the entire state was his personal estate.

On his part, Anglican Archbishop of the Province of Owerri, David Onuoha, has described the invasion of St. Peters Anglican Church by some police operatives to arrest Nwosu, as desecration in the house of God and a new dimension in over 160 years history of the Anglican Church in the area.

In a statement issued yesterday, Onuoha also said the entire clergy and laity of the communion were at a loss, saying the church would dialogue with the police at a date to stop such occurrences in future.

BESIDES, the Imo State Government has declared that it will never support disrespect for places of worship in the state. It condemned Nwosu’s arrest in a church, adding that the incident could have been avoided.

In a statement, yesterday, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, said some persons were trying hard to whip up public sentiments against the government over the arrest.

The government appealed to those negatively affected by the action to bear with the security agencies, as “Governor Hope Uzodimma holds the Anglican Communion in high esteem and will never support any act of disrespect for its status as a place of divine worship.”

MEANWHILE, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has faulted the Imo State Government for justifying the way and manner in which Nwosu was arrested at the weekend.

It condemned the ‘invasion’ of a Church and the violent manner of the arrest, describing it as nothing but a celebration of utter nonsense borne out of crass ignorance.

HURIWA recalled that Emelumba, who addressed reporters in Owerri shortly after the incident in which the police also fired sporadic gunshots in the Church premises, earlier claimed that it was not in anybody’s place to tell the police how to arrest a suspect.

But a statement issued by the National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, dismissed the notion that the police have the right to adopt any style they deemed necessary in arresting accused persons.

HURIWA, therefore, challenged the commissioner to seek knowledge and more information from its legal department to understudy the essence, import and significance of chapter four of the New Police Act 2020 and the 1999 Constitution as amended.