Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri and Okey Sampson, Umuahia, Obinna Odogwu, Awka and From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
The Okigwe division of the Imo State Police Command, yesterday, accused youths from Arondizuogu community of defying the stay-at-home order to celebrate the Ikeji cultural festival and that a set of policemen.
Division Police Officer (DPO) for Okigwe, Chijioke Nwokoma, who disclosed this at a press conference in Owerri said elders of the community have disowned the decision to hold the festival because of the ban on social gathering as well as religious and cultural activities by the state government.
Nwokoma said the youths had rebuffed the order by elders of the community not to hold the annual festival. He said when police got to the scene of the festival, it met a large turnout of people and masquerades and that after several entreaties to disperse peacefully failed, the police had to retreat.
Nwokoma said the youths with their masquerades, took advantage of the police retreating from the scene and chased them back to their station.
“No arrest was made, no life was lost, nobody was hurt. We didn’t want to be provoked to a level where there could be loss of lives. If you see the crowd you can imagine what could have happened if police did not retreat,” Nwokoma said.
Imo Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Orlando Ikeokwu, who confirmed the incident also denied any riot by the crowd.
However, Abia Government has condemned what it described as acts of extra-judicial killing by security agents in the state.
A personnel of Abia command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) whose name was given as Richard on Wednesday shot and killed a commercial vehicle driver, Amobi Igwe, at Umuikaa junction, near Aba.
This came barely one week after a police Inspector shot and killed a petrol attendant after his bullet missed a motorist who allegedly failed to comply with the lockdown directives.
In a statement, the commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi-Kalu, said the state government roundly condemned the extra-judicial killings.
Ex-deputy senate president, Ekweremadu too
Former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has condemned the reported extrajudicial killings in several parts of the country by security agencies enforcing the lockdown order.
Ekweremadu, who is also a member of the seven-man International Parliamentary Taskforce on COVID-19, in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the security agencies to stem the needless killings immediately.
“I am deeply saddened by report from the National Human Rights Commission of the loss of 18 Nigerian lives in the hands of security agents enforcing the lockdown ordered by the Federal Government and various state governments.
“This is most unfortunate and condemnable, especially when we consider that the number of Coronavirus fatalities in the country, stand at 12, as at today.
“I call on President Muhammadu Buhari and the relevant security and government agencies to ensure that the reprehensible acts are thoroughly investigated and the culprits brought to book. We must ensure that law enforcement agents do not turn their weapons against the very citizens they are supposed to protect.
Prioritise food provision, others -Ex-TRANSCORP boss
Immediate past President and Group Chief Executive Officer of TRANSCORP Plc, Mr Valentine Ozigbo, has called on the federal and state governments to prioritize the provision of food, water, security and power for the people to cushion the harsh effects of COVID-19 lockdowns.
He also called on wealthy individuals to assist the governments in their efforts to lighten the sufferings of the people by donating food materials and other necessary items that would help in the fight against the dreaded coronavirus disease.
Ozigbo, who laid bare his view in a statement signed by the General Manager of Chineto Ozigbo Foundation, Izuchukwu Oraelosi, and made available to Daily Sun, said that on his part he has made interventions to the tune of over N20 million.
He disclosed that he has provided thousands of bags of rice, hand sanitizers, face masks, and educational materials to the people in over 60 communities in his home state of Anambra.
Igbo-Eze North distributes N8m relief materials
Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area in Enugu State has distributed food items worth over N8million to 36 communities to cushion the effect of the lockdown of the state to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The items comprising several bags of rice, semovita, maize, beans, noodles and tubers of yams were purchased by the council chairman, councillors, political office holders, philanthropists, members of Gburugburu Movement and Igbo-Eze North Concerned Citizens in the local government area.
Imo Senator provides palliative for 4,500 indigent people
The senator representing Imo East Senatorial Zone, Ezenwa Onyewuchi, had donated tubers of yam, rice, soaps and hygienic products, and other consumables to cushion the effect of the lockdown of the state on his constituents. It is expected that about 4, 500 members of the constituents will receive the relief materials. Onyewuchi who expressed concern over the welfare of the people in the face of the ravaging COVID 19, said no fewer than 500 indigent people drawn from each of the nine local government areas that make up the zone will benefit from the foodstuff.
“Please rest assured that the health and safety of all citizens of Imo East Senatorial district remains my top priority always. Distribution of soap and other hygiene products has commenced for the most vulnerable across the senatorial zone,” he said.
He admonished the people to take preventive measures against the spread of coronavirus by complying with directives issued by the state and federal governments, saying: “In these precarious times, our ability to overcome the challenges associated with COVID-19 will greatly depend on how well we as a nation and community follow instructions from government authorities, health officials and medical experts on preventing the spread of the virus.”
“Naturally, the looming threat of this pandemic has caused fear, anxiety, distress and panic among our people.