From George Onyejiuwa, Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
The Imo State police command has confirmed the arrest of former governorship candidate of the Action Alliance, Uche Nwosu, who was earlier believed to have been abducted during a church service at his home town, yesterday.
A statement by the State police spokesperson, Michael Abattam noted rather that Nwosu was arrested and not kidnapped.
“Contrary to insinuations in the social media that Uche Nwosu was kidnapped, the police can confirmed that he was arrested and not kidnapped.” Abatta stated.
A source from the area had earlier told Daily Sun that Nwosu was abducted yesterday at St Peter’s Anglican Church, Eziama Obire, in Nkwere Local Government Area of Imo State, where he attended a thanksgiving service in commemoration of his late mother, Jemaimah Nwosu, who was laid to rest last week Wednesday.
The source said he saw heavily armed men who took Nwosu away in the trunk of their vehicle after shooting sporadically into the air. The shooting was said to have caused panic in the church as the worshippers all flee on hearing the gunshots.
Regardless, former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, has accused Governor Hope Uzodimma of masterminding the arrest of his son-in-law, Nwosu.
Addressing newsmen shortly after Nwosu was whisked away in a controversial manner by some heavily armed security men, Okorocha said he was still wondering why the police claimed that they carried out such arrest without invitation and a warrant.
Senator Okorocha also alleged that his wife Nkechi and daughter, Uloma Nwosu, were humiliated by the police when they sort to know why they invaded the church.
Okorocha said: “They wanted to know what was going on when some group of men in uniform started shooting everywhere, in the process, they pushed down my wife, tore my daughter’s clothe; they came without invitation or warrant, so what happened gave people the feeling initially that it was a kidnap, many people were injured in the pandemonium.
“Uzodimma has continued to show tremendous hate on me and my family, to the extent of suspending three lawmakers in the State earlier for attending Nwosu’s mother’s burial. I’m waiting to hear his offence.”
Also, State Chairman of the opposition All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), John Iwuala, described Nwosu’s arrest as an act of political vendetta by the current administration to muscle the opposition. He said Nwosu became a target of the state government because he had directed his supporters to join APGA.
“This is a case of political victimisation. Prior to the burial of Nwosu’s mother, the late Jemimah, he had directed all his political foot-soldiers to come to APGA. And because he said so, he has been marked for victimisation,” Iwuala said.
Reacting to the incident, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), yesterday, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Director, Media, Miss Zainab Yusuf, accused the police of having acted like terrorists and also desecrating the Church.
HURIWA said: “We condemn this criminal tendency by the Imo State police command and this has given credence to the report documented by Amnesty International, in which the global human rights body accused the Imo State Police Command of the use of extrajudicial executions of innocent citizens as their law enforcement tactics.
“This was why everyone in Nigeria believed that the shooters were kidnappers long before the police issued a tepid press statement, claiming to have arrested Uche Nwosu.”
Meanwhile, the Imo State government has urged Okorocha to wait for the outcome of Nwosu’s arrest in other not to indict himself.
Addressing journalists, yesterday, the State Commissioner for Information, Declan Emelumba, said that the former governor’s claim could only be viewed as “panic and Impatience.
“He should wait for the outcome of the police arrest; he knows the police is constitutionally instituted, why is he in panic? He should not indict himself by speaking incoherently, but wait for the outcome of the arrest. Why is he afraid,” Emelumba asked.