The Imo State Association of the Deaf has protested against an alleged abuse of the rights of its members by the state police command.
The association claimed that the police detained eight of its members following a recent protest by the group, during which scores of its members trooped to the streets blocking a major road as well as the roundabout at the Government House in Owerri.
The President of IMSAD, Mr. Uzoma Edward, who spoke through a statement, explained that the inability of the state government to employ the deaf into the state workforce was one of the reasons they took to the streets.
Edward also pointed out that the non-allocation of plots of land to interested deaf persons to build houses as well as the state government's failure to reopen the office of the Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Citizens' Matters and appoint a deaf as the special assistant were reasons for the protest.
"Other reasons for our demonstration include the inability of the state government, under Owelle Rochas Okorocha, to release our annual subvention arrears of 12 years amounting to N12m, reorganise the Management of Special Education in the state and ensure that only qualified special education teachers are employed to teach in deaf schools especially the Deaf Secondary School, Orodo," he said.
However, in a swift reaction, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Ezike, said that the protesters were burning tyres on the road, breaking glasses and collecting N100 from every tricycle operators during their demonstration.
Ezike said the deaf were arrested because they conducted themselves contrary to the rules guiding peaceful demonstrations, thereby breaking the law of the state.
"Collecting N100 from any keke operators that passed by is criminal, amidst burning of tyres and breaking of glasses and bottles on the road.
"As they committed these offences, they ate up their goodwill, hence their arrest. Meanwhile, they will soon be charged to court for their ills," Ezike said.