Enugu State Police Command has apprehended two masquerades in Ovoko community, Igbo-Eze South Local Government Area of Enugu State for allegedly robbing a local trader of his hard-earned cash.
According to Daily Post, masquerades had been mounting road blocks in areas such as Eha-Alumona, Ovoko-Obollo-Afor and other major roads around, this has been causing heavy wounds on motorists and dispossessing them of their valuables.
One Police officer told reporters that the police were forced to move into action when one victim named, Mr. Chinonso Ezewaji reported the matter at Nsukka Police Area command.
The police then moved into action and arrested two masquerades, while others took off.
According to him, “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 pocket”.
The Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ebere Amarizu confirmed the incident and said that the police are already investigating the case.
Amarizu said: “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 decimal”, he said.
The victim, Mr Ezewaji wo is a trader revealed that he was going to Obollo from Nsukka when the robbers stopped him, beat him and then stole N57,000 from him.
The masquerades who were caught by the police however insisted that they did not rob the trader.
The two, named Kenchukwu Eze, a carpenter and Ejiofor Eze , brick-layer said that the trader was robbed by one masquerade named as Chima Mamah.
“We only collected N20, N100 and N500 from people; we didn’t participate in collecting the N57,000″, one of them claimed.
Masquerades is long living tradition in Nigeria, almost all tribes have one, in some tribes its meant to invoke the spirits of the unknown.