Over 1000 protesters from Aba South Senatorial District on Saturday morning took to the Federal Expressway linking other South East and South-South states to Aba in protest against the sack of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital on Thursday, ordered the inauguration of Dr. Alex Otti of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) as the validly elected governor of the state.
The protesters on the Aba-Enugu Expressway were led by the former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara, who was flanked by Hon. Eziuche Ubani, Ezebunwa Ubani; council chairmen, state lawmakers and the state Commissioner of Information, Boni Iwuoha.
Placards carried by the protesters read ‘Abians say no to the Appeal Court judgment’, ‘No Gov. Okezie, No Abia State’, ‘Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu is still our Governor’, to mention but a few.
Reports have it that the protesters as early as 7am took to the expressways obstructing vehicular movements in and out of the commercial city.
Eyewitnesses told our reporter that the protesters had used an articulated truck belonging to Dangote Group to block the Enugu-Aba-Port Harcourt expressway leaving commuters and motorists stranded.
It took the intervention of a combined team of soldiers from 144 Battalion and Aba Police Command who arrived the scene later to ensure free flow of traffic.
Another source told our reporter that the road linking the commercial city from Eke-Akpara to Ugba junction which was earlier blocked by the protesters was later opened by the soldiers to allow flow of traffic.
The Aba-Ikot Ekpene road linking visitors from Cross River and Akwa Ibom to the commercial city was equally blocked, as sources within the area alleged that the protesters set up bonfire on the road.
Though the situation caused panic among the inhabitants of the city, the presence of security agents that were on ground within the six hours the protest lasted calmed nerves.
Speaking to journalists on the Enugu-Aba-Port Harcourt Expressway, Wabara said: “We don’t want to start making very volatile statements like the President (Buhari) made sometime when he lost election, but that may not be the case here, because we are sure that the Supreme Court would reverse what the Appeal Court did.
“We want to call on the NJC (National judicial Council) to look at the judgment of the Appeal Court and sanction those judges in the Appeal Court if they were compromised. Definitely they were compromised, because I have never seen in my whole political life such a judgment in any law court. We all claim that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man, but they have not demonstrated that now. So what we are saying is that people should remain calm and demonstrate peacefully.”
Also speaking, Hon. Eziuche Ubani, the Commissioner for Works said, “Let me tell you something, I am from Obingwa. One hundred and something thousand voters were disenfranchised. Osisioma is over 100, 00 registered voters, then Isiala Ngwa North is close to sixty and the total votes of what they used to declare Alex Otti as governor, where is the rule of law?
“So that means that Obingwa people would not be part of any government and secondly Alex Otti is from Arochukwu, his deputy is from Ohafia in Abia North. That means that in this whole area, nobody is going to be part of that government. What kind of arrangement is that?
Abia State Commissioner of Police Joshiak Habila and Commander 144 Battalion, Col. Umar Sidi called on those not satisfied with the judgment of the Court of Appeal to seek redress in court and avoid taking to the streets or engage in any activity that would cause a breach of peace in the state.