The Council of Ohafia monarchs in Abia State have condemned the harassment of citizens by security agencies searching for “unknown gunmen”.
Five traditional rulers expressed their grouse in a communique after a meeting on Monday.
They are Prof. E. U. L. Imaga – Udumeze Ohafia (Ezieogo Elu); Emmanuel Kalu Onugu (Ezieogo Asaga); Mba Odo Okereke (Ezieogo Akanu); A. W. A. Nwankwo (Ezieogo Amaekpu), and Ugbu Mmecha (Ezieogo Amangwu).
They insisted that the residents are law-abiding and deserve protection from law enforcement agents.
“We do not know any “unknown gunmen” in Ohafia. The security agencies know the characters and personality profiles of deviant elements in the community.
“They should device means of arresting such personalities rather than stigmatising all youths and residents of Ohafia,” the communique read.
The monarchs disclosed that the council already used various traditional instruments of authority (Imomo, Ogele, Akpan, etc) to counsel the youths to be responsible.
They lamented that the lockdown of commercial and social activities has paralyzed the area.
The communique said the people have become Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in their land and urged the authorities to ease tension.
Noting that they appreciate the efforts of the Army, Police and others to secure Ohafia, the “continuous intimidation” of residents must stop.