About 200 young people protested at the weekend in Nteje Community of Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State.
The youths protested on the streets after it was claimed that they were part of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the armed branch of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The youths gathered at the Nigerian Police Force Divisional Headquarters in Nteje, then marched with banners through the Onitsha/Enugu road to the Awkuzu junction before coming to an end in the Amaokpo, Orukabi village square in Nteje, Ifite.
A senior Police officer addressed the youths in Ifite Nteje village square at Amaokpo Orukabi and praised them for their consideration to embrace peace.
The officer said, “Youths are agents of peace and growth around the world, but for almost ten years now, the opposite has been true here. In an effort for one group to rule over another, people have been fighting, resulting in some deaths, injuries, and destruction of property worth millions of naira.
“It is disappointing that, rather than being a benefit, Anambra State International Passenger/Cargo Airport Umueri’s close proximity to your town has become an issue. Stop this bloodshed, follow the example of the Aguleri and Umueri people, and create peace so that your town can record lasting development.
Mr. Chinedu Okechukwu, the youth leader of Nteje Community, had earlier stated that the march was held to distance themselves from the baseless claims that Nteje youth are ESN members.
“In a petition filed to the security agencies, a faction in our neighborhood called us members of ESN”
“In response to this unfounded petition, DSS agents and a few soldiers came to our place on June 16, 2022. They shot a couple people during the operation and beat up our general president”
“Oluebube Anukwu and Chinazaekpere Areh, two of the victims of gunshot wounds, are dead as of right now, while others are still lying in very serious condition in various hospitals, he said.
Okechukwu believed that the sole thing fueling the turmoil that was razing the community was land grabbing.
He pleaded with Governor, Chukwuma Soludo, to step in and protect them from more damage.
“Many of us no longer sleep at home because some people illegally hire security agents to intimidate and harass others in order to find buyers for their property.
“Because of the tension in the air following the incident on June 16, he added, “We even learned that some land squatters have brought bulldozers and are clearing land belonging to others.”