George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
There was pandemonium yesterday in Owerri, the state capital of Imo State, as operatives of the Counter Terrorism Unit of the State Police command took to the streets to protest alleged plan to evict them from their new base allegedly by their commander, Usman Muhammed Tabaa.
The irate officers who were masked and fully armed, marched in their number in front of their base
on Old Orlu Road Secretariat, Owerri, barricading the highway with burning tyres and shooting sporadically into the air thereby forcing motorists to scamper for safety.
Sunday Sun gathered that the CTU operatives were drafted to Imo State in 2011 on the request of the former governor of the state , Dr. Ikedi Ohakim to strengthen security in the state especially in combating criminal elements.
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It was further learnt that one of the conditions for granting the state the services of the CTU was that the state must be ready to provide vehicles and accommodation for the unit, while the police command would provide arms and ammunition.
However, one of the protesting officers, who spoke Sunday Sun on the condition of anonymity, said they were forced to relocate from Nekede where they shared accommodation with the Police Trainig School.
He added that while they were settling down at the new base given to them by Governor Rochas
Okorocha, another plan to evict them was being hatched by the authorities of the Federal Medical Centre in connivance with their commander.
Others who spoke to Sunday Sun said they were asked to go to new Egbeada Market to occupy the shops upstairs while traders use the ground floor.
“Then governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim provided us with vehicle to come. When we arrived in the state, he showed us a place at Police Training School, Nekede and that he was putting finishing touches to the place we would use as our permanent base after 2011 general election opposite Concorde Hotel. After the general election, Ohakim lost to Rochas Okorocha.
“Since 2011, we have been in Nekede until sometime this year, because our advance team was already here. Governor Okorocha gave us former Orlu Road secretariat as our base in 2013”,
one of them said.
“One day, our commander, Usman Muhammed Taaba came to Nekede and gave us 24 hours to enter our new base at Old Orlu Road Secretariat or we lose the place. Under 24 hours, we relocated our families and luggage from Nekede to this place. Few weeks after our arrival at this place, FMC management came to inform us that they bought the place from the governor and that we should quit.
The governor himself did not tell us that he had sold the place neither did he give us any counter order to vacate the place.
“A normal man cannot live in a market square. After buying and selling in the market, the next people you will see in the market are mad people
“We want the IG to intervene because we cannot go and live in the market. The market they want us to live in has no ventilation, no toilet and no bathroom.
If the IG wants to come and visit CTU Base 7, he has to come to the market square.”
They called on the Inspector-General of Police, National Assembly and the Presidency to come to their aide or relocate them to force headquarters.