PROTESTERS against the policies of the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, have demanded that the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Chris Ezike, be redeployed after clashing with police.
The protesters, who accused Okorocha of turning Imo State Government into a one-man affairs, also alleged that the governor had turned the state into a place, where citizens now lack freedom of speech in the face of oppression by the Okorocha-led government.
The protesters under the auspices of Imo Peoples Action for Democracy, IPAD, which started at about 8am, on Monday, at Wethedral roundabout, Owerri, almost turned bloody, when the group had an encounter with the police in which their placards were seized and the police were said to have used teargas to dispatch some of them.
A former House of Representative member, Mr Uche Onyegucha, who was at the front line of the protest, said: “Imo State has turned into a one-man state, where citizens are not allowed to speak their minds when they are oppressed.
“Nothing will stop us from doing the right thing. We are on a peaceful protest.
“Imagine, it is Christmas and the government is demolishing virtually all the markets in the state, subjecting the people to extreme hardship and the governor wants the people to be happy. Look at suffering everywhere and one man and his family is enjoying our collective resources.”
“The Imo Peoples Action for Democracy, IPAD, wishes to inform the world that Imo State has unfortunately become a fascist state where freedom of expression and assembly is no longer guaranteed.”
Also speaking, National President of Igbo National Council, Mr. Chilos Godsent said: “INC noted that the Governor of Imo State and the Imo State Commissioner of Police have launched, “Operation Show of Force” which saw over 100 heavily armed military men, 200 heavily armed police men, DSS, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps etc, patrolling major streets of Owerri.
“Why the organizers of the rally were discussing with some of the Police, a team of Police men moved against the protesters and forcefully dispossessed us of our banners, placards, Anayo Rochas Okorocha statue, and other protest materials and also physically assaulted some leading members of the protest. The Operation Show of Force was launched to forcefully disperse and maim members of the Occupy Imo Peaceful Rally.
“Consequent upon the above, the Igbo National Council rose from an emergency meeting this afternoon and have resolved as follows:
“That INC has passed a vote of no confidence on Governor Anayo Rochas Okorocha and CP Chris Ezike – the Imo State Commissioner of Police.
“That INC will launch Operation Rochas Must Go from January 2018.
“That the Inspector General of Police, IGP, should immediately demote and redeploy CP Chris Ezike before he causes avoidable anarchy in Imo State.”