The Police in Nsukka, Enugu State arrested two masquerades in Ovoko community, Igbo-Eze South Local Government Area of Enugu State on Saturday for stealing from a trader along the Nsukka-Obollo-Afor Road according to reports by the Daily Post.
Speaking on the incident, DSP Ebere Amarizu, Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer
confirmed the incident, and stated that the police has begun investigations into the matter. Amarizu also urged communities to regulate and monitor those who wear masquerades as some of them were hiding under the outfit 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 decimalFollow the jump to see the victim's testimony, how the masquerades got caught, and what they have to say about the accusations.
According to reports, masquerades over the past couple of weeks have continuously mounted road blocks in such areas as Eha-Alumona, Ovoko-Obollo-Afor, among several other public roads where they inflict heavy wounds on motorists and rob them of their belongings.
A police officer in Nsukka who spoke anonymously to the Daily Post reporter said that the police took action against the masquerade theives after Mr. Chinonso Ezewaji, the victim, reported the matter at Nsukka Police Area command.
According to him, the other masquerades ran away when two of the masquerades were arrested. Speaking on how they caught the thieves, the police officer described the capture thus:
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 pocketSpeaking on his experience with the criminals, Ezewaji who was a victim, said he was on his way from Nsukka to Obollo-Afor when the masquerades in Ovoko stopped him and gave him the beating of his life. Following the beating, “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 provided name of the actual masquerade involved as Chima Mamah. In their defense, they said: “We only collected N20, N100 and N500 from people; we didn’t participate in collecting the N57,000″,
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.