Tension As Police Teargas Women Over Protest In Anambra

THERE was tension in Abba Community axis of Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State, Friday as Police officers  from  state police command teargased the women and stopped them from selling at the popular market in the area.

The Nation gathered that the action may not be unconnected to the recent misunderstanding between the community and their neighbours, Ukpo, in Dunukofia Local Government, over land tussle.

Women from the community had last week staged a protest to the government house to complain to Governor Willie Obiano, that one influential man from Ukpo was behind the forceful takeover of their land.

Abba women who were yesterday denied entry into the market relocated to a junction in their community, where they settled to sell their wares.

A community leader, Mr Sylvester Nwafor who spoke to reporters said, “It is a shameful thing that the billionaire (name withheld) had to send policemen to chase our women away from our market.

“It was bad to the extent that it makes us feel as if we do not have men in our community.

“They teargased our women, most of whom are old and denied them the opportunity to carry out businesses in our market today.

“As I speak with you, Oye Ukpo Market is in session, but he sent security men to come and chase us from our own market.

“At my age, I was even among the 14 people who were arrested by police on the order of this man, and we spent several days in prison. We are calling on Governor Obiano to please come to our aid.”

One of the affected women, Mrs Catherine Nwafor said, “It was after they chased us away from the market that we decided to come here. Some of us who went to the market yesterday and dropped our wares, they refused us going to pick them, while many people also lost their wares when they started shooting teargas at us.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr  Haruna Mohammed, said there was no such incident as tear gassing of women, neither was there any  case of complicity by the Police.

According to him: “The command received intelligence report of imminent clash between the two neighbouring communities and deployment was made as a proactive measure to forestall any breakdown of law and order in the area”

He said the command would not allow anybody or group to disrupt the peace being enjoyed in the state for a long time. [THE NATION]