By Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri
The Traditional Ruler of Uzoubi Umuna community in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State, HRH Eze Boniface Chigere Okereke has given a chilling account of how he was molested and forced to lie down on a dusty road by policemen attached to the Orlu Area Command of the Nigeria Police.
Eze Okereke told The Nation that he was tortured, and embarrassed and treated like a common miscreant before his subjects by security operatives at the peak of the crisis that rocked some communities in Orlu Local Government Area.
The incident, he said, happened at the Carrot Junction roundabout, Orlu on January 27, 2021 when he was returning from a security meeting that followed the mayhem that rocked Orlu penultimate week.
According to him, “On Wednesday, 27th January 2020, at about 2:00pm, I was returning from a meeting of Orlu council of traditional rulers, held at the palace of the traditional ruler of Umudioka Ancient Kingdom, HRH Eze Thomas Obiefula. I branched to my office at No. 5 L.N Obioha Street, also in Uzoubi, Umuna.
“On reaching Carrot junction, I met a team of mobile policemen who in spite of the inscription on my car number plate which identified me as the traditional ruler of Uzoubi autonomous community, ordered me to come out of my car of they would shoot me. Also, inspite of my explanation to that effect and my appearance as an elderly man, the police men pointed their guns at me and ordered me to get down from the car and lie down on the ground for more than 8 minutes in public glare before one of them intervened and told me to get up.
“This is the height of disrespect to me, my community and the traditional institution,” he said.
The 77 year-old monarch traditional ruler lamented that despite his age, the police men were ready to flog him for coming out not minding that curfew was only imposed between 6pm and 6am.
The monarch disclosed that he had been restraining the youths of community from taking any action pending when the commissioner of police takes action to fish out those who ridiculed, and subjected him to such shame and dishonor.
He condemned the situation where security operatives decided to descend on everyone around Orlu when they ought to know that people who caused the mayhem operated from outside the state.
“The manner those people were riding roughshod around Orlu that time showed they didn’t come from here. I can tell you that apart from the #EndSARS protests, Orlu has never witnessed violence before.
“So, I’m calling on the police hierarchy in Imo State to investigate this allegation and necessarily call their men to order. I am still bearing the humiliation, with pain and grief,” he lamented.
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