The Afaraukwu community people protesting alleged harassment by the DSS at Governmet House, Umuahia, yesterday.
PHOTO: STEVE OKO
From Steve Oko, Umuahia
Protesters from Isiama Afaraukwu community in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State, Thursday staged a peaceful protest at the Government House Umuahia.
The protesters comprising of men, women and youths numbering about 200 accused the personnel of the Department of State Service (DSS), of incessant harassment and arrest of their youths.
They barricaded the gate to the Government House, insisting that the Acting Governor, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, or Secretary to State Government (SSG), must personally hear their grievances.
They carried placards with various inscriptions such as :”DSS leave Isiama Afaraukwu alone”; “We say no to DSS intimidation”; “We say no to parallel government in Afaraukwu”.
Others read : “Doris Uzumma Ogala is a stranger and must vacate our community”; “Eze Okwulehie must allow Afaraukwu to have peace”, etc.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, President General of the community, Chief Ikechukwu Ndubueze alleged that DSS had resorted to incessant arrest of youths in the community who they had branded members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB.
Recall that IPOB Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu hails from the community while the kinship stool of the community is still vacant following the demise of their late monarch, Kanu’s father who was buried in February.
The PG refuted allegations that youths in the community were IPOB members and appealed to the state government to save them from constant harassment by DSS.
Ndubueze further accused the DSS of backing a “parallel government” in the community led by one Eze Okwulehie to cause trouble in the area.
According to him , DSS supervised illegal election for the faction against the protocols on social distancing amid the raging coronavirus pandemic to install their informers as leaders of the community.
The PG further claimed that Okwulehie and his co-travellers enjoy the support of DSS by blackmailing members of the community as IPOB members.
“When we gather they will inform DSS that IPOB is gathering and they will come and arrest us; enough is enough!”
He further alleged that impostors backed by security agencies were trying to hijack power in the community , adding that one Uzumma had earlier obstructed the on-going road project in the community but when confronted, framed up the community authorities, after boasting of her high network of connections.
The PG also accused the impostors of selling their communal land (a cemetery) opposite Golden Guinea breweries without authorization.
Recall that Okwulehie had in a viral video recently , accused Nnamdi Kanu of undue interference in the community affairs, threatening to expose him if he didn’t steer clear.
He also claimed that his business plaza in the village which was fetching him about N3 million annually had been deserted for fear of IPOB, accusing Kanu of disrupting his ongoing business centre where he had invested over N35 million.
But when contacted over the allegations, Eze denied working with DSS to intimidate his people.
DSS could however not be reached for its reaction as its Spokesperson is based in Abuja.
Addressing the protesters, the SSG, Mr. Chris Ezem, thanked them for their peaceful comportment and assured them that government would address all the issues they raised.
He specifically assured them that the unnecessary harassment of their youths by security agents must stop, while urging them to ensure they stay away from bad gangs.
The SSG also assured them that government would complete the on going road construction project initiated before the burial of their late monarch.