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Okoro: The face of police brutality in Orlu zone ~ By Collins Opurozor

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Now that popular consciousness about the atrocities and brutality of the Nigeria Police Force is upping to the high heavens, there is, even more importantly, an overriding necessity to highlight the ways that some citizens of questionable character in Nigeria have aided and abetted this reign of rot. These people have ceaselessly deployed the police as their most potent tool for brutal repression of personal, political and organizational foes, and by so doing they are as well culpable in the filth which has pervaded the police in Nigeria.

In the entire Imo State, a man stands out in this regard. He is Mr. Reuben Okoro, a purported lawyer and red cap chief, who in truth has become a symbol of illegality.

On November 5, 2015, the General Assembly of the apex sociocultural body in Orlu Zone, Orluzurumee, suspended Reuben Okoro from the body on allegations of seizure of the group’s property and conversion of same to personal use, extortion and reported collapse of Orluzurumee into a political party. This was published on page 11 of Nigeria Newspoint newspaper of November 6, 2015. Okoro never denied any of these, neither has he never put up any defense either court or in the press till date.

In 2012, Okoro along with Prof. David Akubukwe, on behalf of Orluzurumee Cultural Union had instituted a court action against Chris Esiobu and Emmanuel Amafili vide suit No. HOR/26/2012 at the high court in Orlu over issues of substitution of names of BoT and executive members. On Tuesday, July 9, 2013, the court, presided over by Hon. Justice C.A. Ononeze-Madu, ordered as follows, “It is the further order of this court restraining both parties from acting in any way or parading in any form as executive members of Orluzurumee Cultural Union pending the determination of the substantive suit.” That court order which has proscribed Okoro from parading himself in whatever form as Orluzurumee has not been vacated.

Again, in furtherance of his sinister drive to keep enriching himself with a common patrimony, Okoro in 2018 instituted a fresh court action at the Orlu judicial division of the Imo State High Court against the valid leadership of Orluzurumee headed by Chief Emeka Diwe, vide suit No. HOR/40/2018. He was seeking the court to order Diwe to hand over the assets of the group to him. On April 8, 2019, Hon. Justice LC Azuama delivered judgment. The court struck out his case on the grounds that having been duly expelled from the group and his hands tied by an extant court order “Okoro is not competent to appear before the court” and has no right over the property of the defendants. This judgment has dumped Okoro into the dustbin of history as long as Orluzurumee is concerned.

What followed after all these could best be described as the most cruel thing in the history of mankind after Cain murdered Abel.

In 2018, Chief Emeka Diwe as President of Orluzurumee came up with a laudable youth engagement scheme by registering the Orluzurumee Mass Transit Company, which assembled unemployed youths in the Zone and gave them vehicles at zero cost to alleviate their plight and cushion the social consequences of youth unemployment. This initiative of the socio-cultural group was the first of its kind in Nigeria. In this way, Diwe opened a new vista of discussion on the social responsibility and commitment of cultural groups, and Orluzurumee became a flagship platform for channeling the energies of Orlu youths into creative ventures.

In other climes, to be clear, this passion, dedication and compassion of Diwe is often rewarded with a laurel. But the reverse is the case here. Determined to hold Orlu youths down forever, Okoro reared up his head again, colluded with the notorious police and got the youth beneficiaries of the mass transit scheme arrested and their vehicles confiscated. Those youths paid not less than N40, 000 for bail at the Orlu Area Command of the Nigeria Police, and till date some of the vehicles are still parked there, rotting away. This is inhumanity of unthinkable proportion!

It is instructive to note that Okoro’s vision for Orluzurumee is lucidly seen only in the oppression of the people, extortion of the wealthy and politicization of the cultural group, and he relies heavily on the police, which area command is at the back of his house, to achieve all that.

Only last week, Okoro went to Oru West and arrested innocent men and women of Orluzurumee who had gathered to conduct their chapter elections. He has terrorized the entire Orlu with policemen, and appears untouchable because of his collusion with the police.

It should be the patriotic duty of all Orlu sons and daughters to get rid of this cancer which has eaten deep into Orlu Zone. Apart from presenting Orlu people as mischievous, Okoro has so willfully desecrated Orluzurumee by creating and sustaining the erroneous impression that Orluzurumee is a ready appendage of any politician or political clique that is willing to drop some cash!

Between the period he was expelled from Orluzurumee and today, he has used over four persons as fronts in this heinous scheme against Orlu people.

As at the time he came up with the phantom polytechnic project, he recruited Chidi Steve Agbarakwe as President-General and fronted for that purpose. Before the 2019 elections, he saw Emeka Okeke is more suitable for his business, and presented him to politicians as President-General of Orluzurumee. Now that he is so furiously plotting his way into the government of Hope Uzodinma, he has recruited Sam Ukonu as President-General of Orluzurumee. This is really pathetic.

Recall that before his misadventure with Agbarakwe, Chief Okoro had also presented Chime Nzeribe as his President-General. That is the kind of man he is. So, as agitations for police reforms are raging, we must not be oblivious of the reality that there are the Okoros of this world who infiltrate the police, corrupt them and detail them towards sinister ends.

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