On Thursday, Owerri was brought to a standstill when over 500 physically challenged citizens lodged a protest. Poised for a showdown, they strategically positioned themselves right in the middle of the road defying orders from uniformed men who attempted to disperse them.
Contrary to speculations that the demonstration was because the Okorocha administration had denied them their allowances, their protest was to let the world know that the maltreatment from the Special Adviser to Governor Okorocha on Special Citizens, Hon. Kate Okoli had reached a boiling point.
A source told IMO STATE BLOG.COM that for sometime, the special citizens have had a rocky relationship with Okoli who was recently designated to act as a liason person between the administration and the physically challenged.
According to this source, shortly after her appointment, “Okoli turned into a jezebel and began maltreating the special citizens entrusted in her care. Monies and gift items given to them through her office were witheld. “
There were also talks of Police intimidation…..
Last week, the special citizens aired out their frustration when they met with Prince Eze Madumere (Chief of Staff to the Governor). In that meeting, they complained bitterly over the treatment from Okoli and called for her replacement.
Prior to the meeting with Madumere, they had staged peaceful protests at the House of Assembly and most recently at Ahiajoku Conference Centre in attempt to gain audience from Governor Okorocha. When it seemed their efforts were futile, the next option was to roll dirty with Plan-B.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Dr. Stanley Nwachukwu, state chairman of the Joint National Association of Persons Living with Disability (JNAPLD) pointed accusing fingers at the state government for oppressing their members through the person of Kate Okoli.
“Gifts donated by charitable individuals would be brought in by Mrs Okoli and presented to us, videoed, photographed and posted on a special website as government achievement.
Recently, Senator Osita Izunaso promised us a gift of N1million during his birthday party with us, as has been the custom for the past six years now, to our utter surprise, Kate Okoli, without our consent went and collected the money only to present it to us with photographers and video cameras as part the effort of the government to better our lot. This is fraud and we are no fools.”