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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Protest: Anambra Commissioner Clears the Air on Isuaniocha Crisis, Dismisses Allegations by Villagers


By Izunna Okafor, Awka

The Anambra State Commissioner for Homeland Affairs, Mr. Chikodili Anarah, has dismissed the allegation of land grabbing, imposition of monarch, and inciting of crisis in Isuaniocha, Awka North Local Government Area of the State, which were leveled against him by some members of the community.

This is coming barely three days after some villagers stormed the Government House in Awka, to protest over the Certificate of Recognition recently presented to Igwe Mkpuorah Ngini as the Traditional Ruler of Isuaniocha community. The protesters, during the protest, also accused the Commissioner for Homeland Affairs of conniving to sell out some lands in tte community, as well as using security operatives to intimidate the residents of the community, among other allegations leveled against him.

However, in his reaction, Mr. Anara described the protest and the allegation as antics championed by some known troublemakers from the community, who are determined to smear his image.

Commissioner Anarah, speaking through the Spokesperson of the Anambra State Vigilante Group, Mr. Nweke Nweke, revealed that the protesters were not only coerced into the protest, but were also led by some disgruntled elements from the community, who organized the protest to shelve their image from the murder charge they are facing.

“Ordinarily, we would have allowed the nonsense issue to die its natural death, as it is a known fact that those who went to the venue of the Isuaniocha Women August Meeting held on Monday, the 21st of August 2023, forced the women to converge the following day (Tuesday) for the protest or pay N5,000 fine, did so to shelve their image from the murder charge they are facing,” Nweke told newsmen in Awka.

According to him, “these disgruntled elements have been trying to portray that the community is boiling, thereby forcing some law-abiding citizens of the area to go into a forced protest after they duly elected traditional ruler, H.R.H., Igwe (Barr.) Mkpuorah Ngini, who was recently issued with a certificate of recognition by the State Government.”

He added that the certificate presentation came, following the election conducted by the members of the community and won by H.R.H., Igwe Ngini.

Nweke clarified that the leader of the protest, Mr. Fredrick Egwunwa, who claimed to be the Caretaker President General of Isuaniocha was an impostor, as, according to him, the community has substantial President General, in the person of Chief Paul Okoye.

While dismissing the allegation that Mr. Anarah imposed a monarch on the community, Nweke, who described the claim as laughable, wondered how the Commissioner who does not even interfer in the electoral process of the leadership of his own community, would ever think of imposing leaders on the people of other communities.

On the claims by the protesters who said that traditional ruler was not what the community needs at the moment, Mr. Nweke also described the protest as ill-conceived and a bluff. He argued that the lack of monarch in the community for the past 16 years and the clamour by the people for a traditional ruler were the brains behind the crisis ravaging the community for years; and which, he said, was laid to rest after the conduct of the election that produced the present traditional ruler. He, therefore, wondered why the villagers had resorted to name-calling against the government officials who have neutrally taken the bold step to restore peace to the community after years of crisis.

“The election was witnessed by both the Council Chairman of Awka North, government representatives, and security agencies; and it is known free, fair, and credible, meaning that those protesting are those who have continued to make the area ungovernable.

“Gentlemen, let me make it known that Chief Chiokodli Anara is not from the Isuaniocha community and he doesn’t even have the power(s) or the authority to choose or decide who becomes the Igwe of his Amaunke Community let alone Isuanaicha, though it is a neighbouring town to his town.”

Mr. Nweke said that the only major aspect of Commissioner Anarah’s involvement on the Isuaniocha issues was his provision of security personnel to maintain peace and tranquility in the community, especially during some major events that may have been exploited by miscreants to cause havoc and waste more lives in the community if security operatives were not present. He said the Commissioner had been playing this role in other communities in the State since the time he was a Special Adviser on Security to former Governor Willie Obiano and now that he is the Commissioner for Homeland Affairs.

“By the virtue of the Commissioner for Homeland Affairs’ position, if an election is to be held in any community, including markets’ unions, and such people require security, it is the responsibility of the Hon. Commissioner to provide such people with security, aimed at making such election a-hitch-free one. That was exactly what he did during the election of the traditional ruler of Isuanaocha, which held recently. But the ungrateful elements in Isuanoacha are paying the Hon. Commissioner with name calling,” he said.

Speaking further, Nweke also debunked the allegation that the Commissioner had taken possession of some lands in Isuaniocha, and challenged the people making the allegation to come up with a single evidence to buttress their claims or point to any land owned by Mr. Anarah in Isuaniocha. He also described that as part of the attempts by some individuals to smear the Commissioner’s image.

“The only issue here is that when Hon. Chikodili Anarah was the Special Adviser to the former governor on security matters, he made it clear that some people in Isuanaocha town had murder charges against them; and that they should be made to face the law.

“It is the same people who coaxed the villagers to go on protest or face sanctions; and they carried out the protest under duress,” he said.

Continuing, he said: “Recall that one Festus Okoye is fingered of having used some thugs and murdered the late Angus Okoye in cold blood; and they are facing murder charges now. Those people that are in Amawbia prison are being held for nothing, and, on noticing that the Hon. Commissioner for Homeland Affairs has insisted that the law should catch up with the lawbreakers, those accused in the heinous crime has conspired to seek Governor Charles Soludo’s sympathy through attacking Hon. Chikodili Anara, as a way to escape the crime they allegedly committed.

“Out of the stupidity of the partners in crime in Isuanaocha, some innocent people from the community have been in Amawbia prison for more than a year now; and those people fueling the crisis in the community are behind that.”

He further said, “If you go to Isuaniocha today, you will notice that those behind the crisis in Isuaniocha have hired unknown gunmen and they are terrorizing innocent people in the community, destroying people’s homes. And they thought the best way to keep the Hon. Commissioner for Homeland Affairs away in restoring peace was to tag him with a name he never deserved.

“In buttressing my claim, the current President General of the Community is not in town because anyone who opposes them is arrested and charged with murder.

“In trying to achieve their selfish aim, those who came to the protest were forced to do so if not they would be dealt with violently. They also went to where the women were doing their August meeting and disrupted their meeting.

“It was amazing that the immediate sacked President General of Isuaaocha, one Tony Onyeagolu that has been working around the clock to foist his brother, Festus Onyeagolu as the traditional ruler of Isuanaocha. And, having known that his ambition was dead on arrival, he decided to castigate the Hon. Commissioner by saying that he has taken over their land —a claim that does not hold water.”

“However,” he said, “it is important to call Tony Onyeagolu, Festus Onyeagolu, Nonso Okoye, Emeka Maduka, Moses Emebo, Friedrich Chukwuma Egwunwa, and their cohorts to come forward and prove where Hon. Chikodili Anara has even a plot of land in Isuanaocha. They should make themselves available and face the murder charge hanging on their neck instead of portraying the man who has sacrificed his life for the good people of the state.”

On the allegation of using security personnel to intimidate torture and operates the villages, Mr. Nweke, who dismissed the allegation as another tissue of lies against the Commissioner, said it had come to their notice that there are some arm-bearing men parading as members of the Anambra Vigilante Group in Isuaniocha, whom, he said, might be responsible for any such condemnable act in the community, as the people claim. He, however, said that efforts were being made to fish out and bring to book, the people involved or responsible for such inhumane acts as alleged.

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