The Police in Nsukka, Enugu State, on Saturday arrested two masquerades in Ovoko community, Igbo-Eze South Local Government Area of Enugu State for robbing a trader along the Nsukka-Obollo-Afor Road.
EXCLUSIVES gathered that in the past few weeks, masquerades had continuously mounted road blocks in such areas as Eha-Alumona, Ovoko-Obollo-Afor, among several other public roads, inflicting heavy wounds on motorists and dispossessing them of their valuables.
A police officer in Nsukka who pleaded anonymity on Saturday that the police moved into action when the victim, Mr. Chinonso Ezewaji reported the matter at Nsukka Police Area command.
He said when two of the masquerades were arrested, others ran way.
According to him, “when the police team reached Ovoko, along Nsukka–Obollor-Afor Road, where the masquerades were operating, two of the policemen in the bus pretended as if they wanted to give the two masquerades money; they stretched their hands to collect it and that was how we hand-cuffed them and others ran away.”
“Eight masquerades have been on that road since morning tormenting road users; the two of them we arrested have denied involvement in robbing the trader, but they have given the names of the culprits.
“When we searched one of the arrested masquerades, we saw Indian hemp in his pocket”.
When contacted, DSP Ebere Amarizu, Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer confirmed the incident, noting that the police has commenced investigations into the matter.
Amarizu urged communities to regulate and monitor those who wear masquerades as some of them were hiding on it to harass, intimidate and rob innocent members of the public.
“Police is not against any culture but community leaders must know the character of people they allow to wear masquerades in the name of culture.
“A masquerade has no right to mount a road block on busy roads where motorists, motorcyclists and other road ply on daily basis.
“The police has commenced investigations and must get to the root of this matter as issue of masquerades disturbing people has become a recurring decimal”, he said.
Narrating his experience, the victim (Ezewaji), a trader, said he was on his way from Nsukka to Obollo-Afor when the masquerades in Ovoko stopped him, gave him the beating of his life, after which “they searched me and collected N57, 000 from my pockets”.
Meanwhile, the two masquerades, who identified themselves as Kenchukwu Eze, a carpenter and Ejiofor Eze , brick-layer alleged that they were not part of the team that robbed the victim. They gave the name of the masquerade involved as Chima Mamah.
“We only collected N20, N100 and N500 from people; we didn’t participate in collecting the N57,000″, one of them claimed.
However, kenechukwu Eze, while admitting that the police recovered Indiam Hemp from him, said “If police will release me, I will not wear masquerade or smoke Indian hemp again. It is the left-over of the one we smoked before coming out”, he said.