David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone 13, Danmallam Mohammed, on November 10, 2020, visited police facilities vandalised by hoodlums in Nnewi, Anambra State, during the #EndSARS protests. The visit was in line with the directive of the Inspector General of Nigeria Police, Mohammed Adamu, just before they resumed full duties after the protests that rocked the country.
The AIG paid courtesy call on the traditional ruler of Nnewi, Igwe Kenneth Orizu III. He appealed to residents to support the on going rebuilding of police stations destroyed. He said such call became necessary so that policing could take its shape once again. He promised tighter and more cordial relationship with the people, even as he enjoined the people to work with the police for the actualisation of perfect policing.
Accompanied by the Nnewi Area Commander, Irek Sunday; DPO of the Central Police Station, Nnamdi Anabike; among other officers, the police boss promised the readiness of the zone to swiftly react to security concerns. He urged that the wrongdoing of a police officer should not be used a yardstick to measure all other officers:
“I am glad to be here, but I am here with a heavy heart and mixed feelings. Nnewi is one of the cities that have a good and cordial relationship with the police. Nnewi people have been very supportive to the Nigeria police force. It is very sad and unfortunate that the peaceful protest was hijacked by hoodlums.
“I urge Nnewi people to cooperate with our police. I am also pleading to concerned individuals and the community to assist us in rebuilding the burnt stations. This visit is also to encourage policemen not to allow criminals to intimidate them.
“I plead for forgiveness on behalf of all police officers, who might have offended anybody in the course of discharging their duties. We have good, honest and dedicated police officers. The incident that led to the #EndSARS uproar should not be used to condemn all of us.”
He praised the efforts of Chief Innocent Chukwuma, Chairman of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company, for taking it upon himself to rebuild the Central Police Station, (CPS), Nnewi: “This is the type of synergy we expect from Nigerians, because, security is everybody’s business.”
Igwe Orizu berated the hoodlums, whom, he said, were not indigenes of Nnewi. He insisted his people were known for business and had no time to engage in destructive activities: “As a place that has influx of foreigners, it is possible that such mayhem could come from strange characters.”
He extolled the AIG and his team for their prompt responses to security issues. He warned that hoodlums should not again disturb the peaceful area widely known for business and manufacturing.
President General of Nzukora Nnewi, Ugochukwu Udemezue, thanked the AIG and his team for coming, and requested for a fresh understanding with members of the public and the police. He frowned at the level of damage that followed the #EndSARS protests, and blamed the police high authority for not addressing the issues that led to the civil unrest across the country. He assured the AIG of full support as he sought punishment for erring officers.
A former chairman of Nnewi North Local Government, Patrick Mbajiaka, disclosed that the reconstruction of the Otolo Division and the CPS, Nnewi, were nearing completion. He thanked God that no police life was lost in the insurrection in the council area, promising that such a destructive outing would not reoccur in the area.
Two police officers at Osumenyi community in Nnewi South LG lost their lives, while another was beheaded and burnt in Ogidi in Idemili North LG. Police facilities destroyed included the 3-3 Divisional Police Station, Onitsha; Nnewi Central Police Station, Nnewi; Nnewi Area Command, Nnewi; INEC Office, Nnewi North LGA; Defunct F-SARS Office, Nnewi; and EEDC Office (Nnewi Improvement Union Building); Police Barrack, Nnewi.
Others were, Federal Road Safety Corps Office, Nnewi; Osumenyi Police Stations, Nnewi South LGA; Ochi Police Station, Amichi, Nnewi South LGA and Ezinifite Police Station, Nnewi South LGA. Also on the list were Ukpor Divisional Police Station, Nnewi South LGA; Ichi Police Station, Ekwusigo LGA; Ozubulu Divisional Police Station, Ekwusigo LGA and Ekwusigo Area Command, Oraifite, Ekwusigo LGA.
At Onitsha Dennis Memorial Grammar School, DMGS roundabout, the hoodlums descended on Zik’s statue remodelled by government. They broke its head taking away the long cap, broke the hand staff and scattered all the artwork placed round the statue.
Not done yet, they set the image on fire and started deriding the image, saying that it was his belief and working for one Nigeria that placed the Igbo in what they described as “continued slavery and marginalisation in Nigeria.”