Thugs numbering more than 20 on Saturday attacked protesters at the front gate of Government House, Awka, beating some and forcefully snatching their placards.
The protesters from Mkpunando Aguleri Otu in Anambra East Local Government Area, Anambra were at the government house to protest the imposition of a caretaker committee on their town.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that less than 10 minutes after the protesters who displayed placards and matched from the frontage of Public Complaint Commission Office, Awka, toward the government house’s gate, the hoodlums emerged from buses parked near the place and swooped on them.
However, it was the timely intervention of armed security operatives at the gate that saved the situation.
Some of the placards displayed by the protesters read: “No to the caretaker committee in Mkpunando”, “Mkpunando rejects caretaker and want Hon. V. N. Umeh’s panel report implemented”, “We do not want Abuja based politician to select caretaker for Mkpunando”, among others.
Mr Stephen Ezechukwu-Onyibor, the spokesperson of the group, said the people of Mkpunando Aguleri Otu, said they were in Awka to express displeasure over the Imposition of a caretaker committee on their town.
Mkpunando Aguleri Otu is one of the crude oil-bearing communities in Anambra but has been in crisis since close to one year due to issues bothering on land sales and another sundry leadership tussle.
Ezechukwu-Onyibor said the people did not want a caretaker but duly elected town union executives as recommended by a judicial panel of enquiry recently establish by Gov. Willie Obiano.
“We reject this unpopular, ill-informed and unacceptable action of the office of the Special Adviser to Governor on Chieftaincy Matters.
“The establishment of caretaker has annulled the recommendations of V. N. Umeh’s panel of enquiry which upheld the town union election of July 13, 2019,” he said.
Ezechukwu-Onyibor who read an address signed by Chief Emmanuel Chilokwu and Stephen Edochie named serving political office holders from the area to be behind the crisis and attack on them during the protest.
The group called on Obiano to help implement the panel recommendation as that was the sure way to engender peace in the area.
Mr Henry Nwasike, an official of Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, who spoke on behalf of his Commissioner, Mr Greg Obi, said that government would look into the issues raised by the group.
He assured them that Obiano’s government was ever ready to ensure that peace reigned in every community.