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Hundreds of youths from Ikem community in Isi-Uzo Local Government Area of Enugu State have positioned themselves for a possible showdown with the police in the state over alleged refusal to release four of their members in police custody for about two months.
Also, there were indications yesterday that the State Governor, Sullivan Chime, may have come under severe pressure to release the four persons said to have been detained in connection with the Ikem/Neke communal clash.
The four persons-Alpheaus Ushi, Okwudili Nnamani, Louisa Odo-and Godwin Odo are allegedly being held at the state police command.
Some youths from Ikem community in Isi-Uzo Local Government Area of the state warned that peace may take a flight in the local government area, if the illegally detained four members of their community are not released from detention forthwith.
They expressed dismay that after the Deputy Governor of the state, Sunday Onyebuchi, who also is the chairman of the state’s boundary adjustment committee had ordered the Chairman of Isi-Uzo Local Government Council, Augustine Nnamani, to release the detainees, nothing has been done about it three weeks after the order was given.
One of the youths, who asked not to be named said it was regrettable that four years after the state government had demarcated the boundary between Neke and Ikem communities, the Neke community is still craving for war, not allowing peace to reign in the area.
The youths stated that the long detention of one party in dispute between two communities infringed on their fundamental human rights, calling for their immediate and unconditional release from detention.
Spokesman of the Ikem youths, Hillary Odo, accused both the state Commissioner for Police, Adamu Mohammed and the Neke community of conspiracy in the unlawful detention and asked Governor Chime and human rights organisations to intervene in the matter to secure their release.
Odo said they were making a special appeal to the Governor to intervene in the matter to further cement the effort already made by the Deputy Governor, noting that the Chime is highly revered among their people.
“Look at the road that the Governor just tarred for us, it is even becoming impassable because one community is disobedient to government’s demarcation of the land, so of what use is the road after spending over N2 billion on the virgin road construction and there is no thoroughfare because Neke is proving stubborn?”
They maintained that Ikem and Neke are sister communities that share common affinity, in marriage and in tradition, wondering why Neke community wants to put a knife in a cord that has held them together for ages.