From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Catholic Bishop of Aba Diocese, Most Rev Augustine Echema has expressed worry over what he described as ‘high level intimidation of the people of South East by security agents’, particularly the Army, Navy and the Police.
Bishop Echema was speaking at Amihe village, Ukpor in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State, during the burial of Mrs Chinelo Priscilla Amechi, wife of First Republic Aviation Minister and elder statesman, Chief Mbazuluike Amechi.
The Bishop said that what he saw traveling from Aba, Abia State to Owerri Imo State and then Anambra State was annoying and unacceptable.
He alleged that the intimidation by the military forces and the police on the roads from Aba to Onitsha was a thing of worry that could be witnessed in a war situation.
“I’m worried that South East is being militarized and seriously under siege and serious tension. What I tell the people of the South East is that this intimidation cannot continue. We are being enslaved in this country and made to be like slaves in our own land.
“As I was coming from Aba to Owerri and to Anambra, people were made to come down irrespective of age and what you are, from public transport and private car to trek long distances to cross Army check points. We are intimidated and harassed like that in our own land. It is unacceptable.
“Everybody in the buses, private cars except the drivers, hundreds of buses with passengers and private cars occupants coming down and walking past the check point with long traffic. Everybody even the physically challenged are made to come down to walk just to pass an Army check point. What kind of intimidation is that in our own land. What type of country is this. No matter any situation, that should not be, it is not proper. We don’t accept that kind of maltreatment.
“We are not in a war situation. For whatever reason, that is unacceptable. Why must this happen and our people are keeping quiet. This is too much. We should not accept that anymore, ” the Bishop said.
On the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State, Bishop Echema, said that his only fear in the election was security agents intimidation, “otherwise, the people of the State know what they want.”
“I’m not from Anambra State, but I know that the people of the State know what they want and we are proud of them. Anambra has always shown us good example on how to choose who governs them, from Dr Chris Ngige to Mr Peter Obi the State has always chosen well on the people who govern them.
“We respect Anambra people and this time we know they will not disappoint their people and the people of South East. We know they are going to choose somebody that will do well like Mr Peter Obi, who walks freely everywhere he goes. He did well that is why you see him walking freely.
“Despite intimidation and harassment the people of the State will choose who will govern them and God will lead them to choose who will govern them, ” he noted.
The Bishop described the deceased as a true woman of God who impacted lives positively, loved everyone around her and served God honestly. He said that testimonies at the funeral confirmed that.
He urged the husband, Chief Amechi and her children to take heart and bear the loss with fortitude, saying that God would console them.