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Protesters Clash In Owerri As Okorocha Accuses PDP Of Using The Military To Cause Mayhem

By IGNATIUS OKPARA, Owerri – Owerri, the Imo state capital was on Tuesday thrown into pandemonium for several hours following a clash between two women groups in the state and the eventual deployment of Battalion of soldiers from the 34 artillery brigade of the Nigerian Army to the scene.

African Examiner reports that trouble started when a hired crowed of widows allegedly mobilised by minister of state for Education, Mrs. Viola Onwuliri, who is from the state, gathered around the Wetheral road which is just a stone throw from the Imo state government house to protest against Governor Rochas Okorocha.

An eyewitness had it that the Protestants, who were clad in black attire were immediately confronted by another group of youths and women sympathetic to Governor Okorocha.

The pro- governor group, were allegedly mobilised to disperse and stop them from getting into the Government house.

However, the whole scenario took a different dimension, when soldiers from 34 artillery brigade stormed the scene and started beating up the Okorocha’s supporters on the alleged orders of the Mrs. Onwuliri.

The action of the soldiers was said to have infuriated the Governor who arrived the scene in the peak of the commotion.

Okorocha, accused leaders of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state led by the Minister of hiring thugs dressed in women attires from neighboring Abia State to burn down the Government House.

The governor, who was accompanied to the scene by thousands of women and youths, noted that the Army was invited by Mrs. Onwuliri, to beat up innocent people and create tension among the Staff of the Government House.

According to him, “Mrs Onwuliri, claimed to have the support of President Goodluck Jonathan to seal up the Government House, so she invited Soldiers to beat up innocent people and this will not be accepted.

“Her mission was to set the Government House ablaze, using the Army to perpetrate the crime”.

The Governor, who pleaded with his supporters to remain calm, insisted that the protesters were not indigenes of the state but were mobilized from Abia State to cause chaos in the State.

He therefore, urged President Jonathan, to call the Minister and PDP leaders in the state to order to avoid the wrath of the people of the state, adding that, the Army should not allow itself to be used to truncate the nation’s democracy.

“If they try this again, they will see the wrath of Imo people, the governor vowed.

The Commander of the 34 Brigade, Brig. General LM Bello, said he was present at the scene but noted that the army only stormed the scene to disperse the crowd and restore peace and order and did not assault anyone as claimed or neither did the army take orders from anybody to barricade the government house.

He said it was the effort of the Soldiers that helped to rescue the old women and disperse the crowd that posed a security threat around the Government House.



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