Anambra petitions Jonathan over dumped beggars in Onitsha

Governor Peter Obi on Wednesday wrote President Goodluck Jonathan to investigate the dumping of 72 homeless people at the Upper Iweka Bridge, Onitsha, Anambra State, by suspected agents of the Lagos State Government.
In a letter titled, “Unconstitutional, Illegal and Forced Deportation of Nigerians to Anambra State from Lagos State,” Obi described the action of Lagos State Government in the matter as disturbing.
He said it had serious security and political implications, considering the fact that it was not the first time that such an action was taken by the Lagos State Government.
Part of the letter read, “This latest callous act, in which Lagos State did not even bother to consult with Anambra State authorities before deporting 72 persons considered to be of Igbo extraction to Anambra State, is illegal, unconstitutional and a blatant violation of the human rights of these individuals and that of the Nigerian Constitution.
“Your Excellency, no amount of offence committed by these people, even if deemed extremely criminal, would justify or warrant such a cruel action by a state authority and in a democracy.
“Even refugees are protected by the law. Furthermore, the extant provisions of the Nigerian Constitution states, ‘Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part, thereof, and no citizen shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit therefrom.’”
However, Lagos State Government said it did not deport anyone to Onitsha in Anambra State.
Speaking with journalists shortly after the state Security Council meeting, chaired by the state Governor, Babatunde Fashola, on Wednesday, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Umaru Manko, said the government only rehabilitated and resettled the people.
Manko said, “What happened was that the state rehabilitated citizens from other states that came into the state and turned into beggars.
“After that, they indicated their interest to go back to their home towns to be resettled. That was what happened. There was no deportation.”
The police commissioner said security in the state was perfect, adding that security operatives were on top of the situation.
He said, “The residents should go about their lawful businesses. Of course, everyone knows that the Eid-il-fitri is around the corner. We have done everything necessary to ensure that the festival comes and go peacefully.”
by Emmanuel Obe and Sesan Olufowobi

Source: PUNCH

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