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Police arrest Onitsha market leader

Posted by By John Ameh, Onitsha on 2006/07/25 | Views: 571 |

Police arrest Onitsha market leader


A former governorship aspirant in Anambra State on the platform of the National Conscience Party, Mr. Peter Okala, has been arrested by the police......

A former governorship aspirant in Anambra State on the platform of the National Conscience Party, Mr. Peter Okala, has been arrested by the police.

He is also the Chairman, Tools and Allied Union, Onitsha Bridgehead Market.

Investigations by our correspondent on Monday revealed that Okala, a businessman, was arrested in Nnewi on Sunday at about 4.05pm.

The order for his arrest was said to have been given by the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 9 Command, Umuahia, Mr. Ade Ajakaiye. The AIG reportedly accused him of “misleading the police with false information.”

Our correspondent gathered that before his arrest on Sunday, Okala had had a running battle with the President of the market’s General Assembly, Chief Aloysius Orji.

He was alleged to have written petitions to the command and alerted the police that Orji ran an armed group at the market, which terrorised innocent traders.

Orji was also alleged to have collected “illegal levies” from many traders and harassed Yoruba and Hausa traders with his men.

Investigations revealed that though Orji, a.k.a “High tension”, was reportedly invited to Umuahia on many occasions to respond to Okala’s petitions, he often returned to Onitsha without being detained.

Okala, who confirmed his arrest to our correspondent on the telephone on Monday, said after such return trips to Onitsha, Orji would boast that the police could not arrest him because he knew how to relate well with them.

According to Okala, during one of such trips, he had claimed that he (Orji) gave a bribe of N2 million to some senior police officers at the command to prevent his arrest.

He added that this confession forced him to travel to Umuahia and confront the AIG with the allegation, during which he was advised to put his information in writing.

However, acting on another petition by Okala, the state Criminal Investigation Department in Awka arrested Orji and detained him last week.

SCID operatives reportedly took him to the market in Onitsha and paraded him before traders before he was again returned to Awka and detained.

When our correspondent sought the reactions of the AIG, he confirmed the arrest of Okada but denied that it was at Nnewi he ordered for his arrest. He said, “I did not order for his arrest, this man gave false information to the police and we have been looking for him. “It happened that he was sighted in Nnewi and he was arrested; that is all.

“We shall arraign him in a law court on Tuesday (today).”

But, on Sunday, Okala, a human rights activist, went to Nnewi to assess the damage done to the Nnewi Central police station by hoodlums and was arrested on the orders of Ajakaiye.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.