People of Ogbozinne-Ndiagu Community, Akpugo in Nkanu West Council area of Enugu State, condemned the unlawful prosecution of their village head, Chief John Oko and others by police.
They also appealed to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the Commissioner of police in the state to investigate and probe the alleged unlawful arrest and prosecution of Chief John Oko and others by the police.
They said the development could be likened to a case of police turning complainant to suspect.
According to them, call for a diligent investigation on the matter and their unconditional release, they said became necessary based on the fact that “Oko and others are suffering from a sin they never committed and to avoid a resurgence of and crisis.
“They should be released unconditionally, because the arrest of the village chairman for unjust cause may lead to the possible renewal of violence in the community even as the chairman of judicial panel of inquiry late justice Agbata warned all parties to sheath their sword and give peace a chance.
“After the panel, the Community came together and started living in peace until one of their sons was killed by his father which prompted a report to police and subsequent detention of the chairman of the community.
Speaking with newsmen, yesterday in Enugu under the condition of anonymity for fear of the unknown, leaders of the Community said the village Head currently languishing in Enugu Correctional service facility, since October was held when he went to the Agbani police station to report the suspicious manner one Mr Ikechukwu Nwobodo and some members of the Community had planned to bury his 32-year-old son, Chika Nwobodo, who was allegedly murdered by his father.
According to the villagers, suspicious of the circumstances surrounding the death of Chika, the Community refused to participate in the secret burial, adding that efforts by the people to ascertain the cause of the death were futile hence, the need to involve the police.
They stated that after reporting the death and the secret burial move by the father of the deceased and some members of the locality to the police, rather than moving in to interrogate those accused of the act, the police got him (Oko), arrested and detained over an alleged crime they claimed he committed about three years ago.
They said the police claimed they were detaining Oko, for questioning over what he knew about the murder of the Traditional ruler of the Community Igwe Stephen Nwatu, who was killed in 2018 during a bloody fracas in the locality.
However, the police according to them, later arrested two members of a local vigilante in the area, the father of the deceased Mr Nwobodo, who is a retired teacher, who confessed to killing the son because he was psychologically enranged.
The Community insisted that the arrest and subsequent prosecution of Chief Oko, on a matter that the state government had set up a panel of inquiry which has since submitted its report to the government was a violation of his fundamental rights.
“We are, therefore, appealing to the state governor and Commissioner of police to use their respective good offices to investigate the circumstances surrounding Chief Oko’s arrest and subsequent prosecution.
They equally disclosed that all the suspects arrested in connection with the killing of the 32-year-old boy were granted bail immediately, while the Chairman of the Community who had gone to report the atrocity perpetrated by the father and his cohorts were arrested and sent to prison over what he knew nothing about.
“Information reaching us also has it that the police have concluded plans to frame up and arrest more innocent members of the Community. We further request that justice should be given to all parties and those who are not parties to the alleged crime of murder should be released.