…as police arrests youths and Elders for protesting peacefully.
By: Princely Onyenwe,Imo
Emeabiam Community in Owerri West Local Government Area, host community of Imo Rubber Estate of Imo state is presently enveloped with great fear and panic as the police has clamped down on the community arresting youths, elderly persons, and some stakeholders for protesting and demanding government presence in the Area as host community of a multi-billion naira Rubber Estate.
According to Mr. Stanley Ndukuba Osuji, a youth leader and a vigilantee member in the community, the police action engineered by the acclaimed caretaker of the Estate Charles Udemba was in respect of a recent peaceful protest embarked upon by the youth of Emeabiam.
Mr Osuji said; From early 1960s when their community leased over 1,260 hectares of their land to the then Eastern region administration for the purpose of Imo State Rubber Estate Plantation till date, their community has absolutely nothing to show for it.
In his words”Our fathers did their best to see that the community benefits as host community but all their efforts proved abortive.
During the Christmas period precisely from 24th through 27th December 2020, Emeabiam youths, under the umbrella of Emeabiam Youth Assembly, planned and carried out a peaceful protest to attract government attention by stopping lorries from entering and lifting rubber lumps (raw materials) from the community and also intercepted two Lorries in the community.
He further stated that, “we only see the rubbers being carted away from our community to different cities, sometimes with Dangote trailers. We learned that a trailer of the natural resources is sold for hundred million naria, yet the host community still anguishes in abject poverty.
He also added that during the protest the manager and one Mr.Charlie Udemba invited some well armed military personnel in two hiluxes to harass and and intimidate the peaceful protesters.
Luckily for us, one of our sisters and wife of the Governor of Ondo State, Her Excellence Chief Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, Ada Emeabiam II intervened, she wondered why anybody would depoly armed military personnel to manage a peaceful protest”
Our sister tried to find out on whose order they came. Obviously, they were on an illegal mission and that prompted them to escape from the community.
If not for her timely intervention on her way to church that faithful day, the Lekki Massacre would have repeated itself in Emeabiam.”
The youth leader stressed that if not for the intervention of the first Lady, it would have been a Blood Fest in Emeabiam. Though, we learned that the Military men were on illegal mission, it was gathered that they were not from Obinze Military Command. Our reporter also gathered that the illegal invasion by the army was reported at the Nekede-Ihiagwa police station and the contractor who accommpined the army was detained.
Mr Osuji also hinted that Emeabiam people have suffered a lot, as the community lacks basic social amenities and youth employment.
Our schools have remained in bad shape, our roads remained the worse in Imo State, Youth unemployment is above 90 percent in our area as no indigenous son is employed in the Company not to talk of having our people in the management board. We don’t have a health center, Our mothers are dying in their productive age because of complications from child bearing at the mercies of traditional birth attendants. We don’t know where the revenue coming from the Rubber Estate goes to, you cannot find it in Imo State budget any longer”
In a chat with our reporter, a woman who is leader in the community (name withheld) alleged that ever since the protest, the police has been arresting youth leaders, elders in the community. The community is now living in fear and some of our sons whereabouts are not known because they are now in hiding.
Our husbands and sons are being arrested for seeking what rightfully belongs to them.
What is our crime?
Is it now a crime for one to protest peacefully for a just cause?”
She called on the Government to come to their aid.
9News Nigeria (Owerri)
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