Nteje Community youths numbering about 200 staged peaceful demonstration on Saturday denouncing allegations that they are members of the proscribed Eastern Security Network (ESN).
ESN is the militant arm of the equally proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra.
The youths converged at the Divisional headquarters of the Nigerian Police Force, Nteje in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra.
From there, they marched through the Onitsha/Enugu Expressway to Awkuzu junction before ending at Amaokpo, Orukabi village square, Ifite Nteje with banners and placards
Addressing the youths at Amaokpo Orukabi village square Ifite Nteje, a senior police officer who requested anonymity commended the youths for their thoughtfulness to embrace peace.
“The police joined you in this peaceful march to send the signal that we want peaceful co-existence amongst various warring groups in Nteje.
“Youths the world over are agents of peace and development, but the reverse has been the case here for close to 10 years.
“People have been fighting one another and some have been killed or maimed and property valued at millions of naira destroyed all in a bid for one group to exercise dominance over another,’’ he said.
The senior police officer added that he decided that Amaokpo Orukabi village square, Ifite Nteje, be used for convergence so that God and the ancestors of the community would stand in judgment against those causing crises.
“It is regrettable that the proximity of Anambra International Passenger/Cargo Airport, Umueri, to your community rather than being a blessing has turned to a problem.
“Stop this bloodletting, emulate Aguleri and Umuleri people and make peace so that enduring development will be recorded in your community,’’ he charged.
Some of the banners and placards read: “we want peace in Nteje;’’ “we are not ESN members, police, please beam searchlights on Nteje to uncover evil activities of land grabbers.’’
Another read: “Gov. Charles Soludo, Nteje Community need your intervention.’’
Earlier, Mr Chinedu Okechukwu, leader of Nteje community youths said they held the march to dissociate themselves from the frivolous allegations that Nteje youths are members of ESN.
“A faction in our community labelled us as members of ESN in the petition they sent to security agencies.
“Acting on this frivolous petition, some DSS and army operatives came to our place on June 16 and in the course of the operation shot some people and rough handled our president-general.
“As at today, two of the persons Oluebube Anukwu and Chinazaekpere Areh who got gunshot injuries have died with other still very critically ill in hospitals,’’ he said.
Okechukwu who maintained that land grabbing was at the centre of the dispute rocking the community, appealed to Gov. Soludo to urgently intervene in the matter.
“Many of us no longer sleep at home because some people engage security operatives illegally to harass and intimidate others in order to bring buyers to sell lands belonging to others.
“We even gathered that some of the land grabbers brought bulldozers cleared lands belonging to others because the atmosphere has been tense since the June 16 incident,’’ Okechukwu said.