Over 20 riot policemen yesterday stormed the residence of the General Manager of the Owerri Capital Development Authority (OCDA),
Mr. Iheanyi Anyiabaekwume and whisked him to an unknown destination after allegedly being beaten to a pulp by the security operatives.
The reason for his arrest was not immediately known, it was gathered, however, that the predawn raid was not unconnected with a recent statement by the agency, which accused the police of shielding owners of properties marked for demolition in Owerri, the state capital.
A source close to the agency, who did not want his name in print, said that the riot policemen invaded the Aladinma home of the OCDA boss, ransacked the place before he was handcuffed and bundled into a waiting van and taken away to his office along Port Harcourt road.
According to the source, the policemen also ransacked the offices of the agency and made away with valuable documents, including, as it was learnt, “incriminating items discovered in his house and office.”
National Mirror also gathered that in recent time, activities of the agency had been enmeshed in serious controversies, especially the demolition of buildings and harassment of owners of business places by taskforce officers attached to the agency.
It was also learnt that following the demolition exercise, policemen attached to the agency were withdrawn based on series of petitions against the operations of the agency.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the agency, Adaugo Opara, confirmed the incident, but said that no reason has been given by the police for the arrest. But, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Sam Onwuemeodo, condemned the action of the police.
He said: “The general manager of OCDA is an agent of the state government and the police were expected to put that into consideration. The police command in the state has been enjoying good relationship with the state government and it is the wish of the government that such understanding should remain.”
When the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Joy Elemoko was contacted, she told National Mirror that there were; “Multiple criminal charges against the OCDA general manager that ‘even when we searched his house and office, there were incriminating evidences against him.’
“We have invited him several times, he refused to honour our invitations but we did not molest him. Asked to mention the incriminating items discovered, she said: “We will brief you appropriately.”