Land dispute: Men flee Anambra community over mass arrests

Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 15 December 2018 | 914 times

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No fewer than 16 persons, including an 84-year-old man, from Igbariam, Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State, are currently being detained in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, over a protracted land tussle.

The land tussle which has lasted for years has left the community in its tatters as many houses have been destroyed following skirmishes arising from it.

One of the houses torched was that of a Permanent Secretary in the State civil service, Dr. Edwin Emenike.

At the moment, adult males in Igbariam community have deserted the community following mass arrests by security operatives suspected to be members of a special squad from Abuja.

Eighty-year-old, Mrs. Agnes Atomba, whose son’s house was among those destroyed, said that the hoodlums, after shattering windows in her house, collected N200, 000 her son sent to her for her upkeep.

She said: “I was sleeping at night and suddenly I heard some noise in the compound. They were shouting and asking everybody in the house to come out. They came into my room and dragged me out and searched the entire house.

“When I asked why they stormed my compound, they said they were looking for my son, Lambert, and I told them he was not at home. My son, who they said they were looking for, lives in Lagos and has not come home in a long time.”

On her part, Mrs. Catherine Ogini, said in addition to destroying her house, the youths collected N30,000 belonging to her church and her women group in the community. She also claimed that they collected a plasma television from her house and threatened to deal with her if she screamed.

Also, Mr. Nnalue Iloegbune, whose house was destroyed, urged the government to intervene in the matter, noting that the entire community was living in danger.

Narrating the story of the events that has played out, Iloegbune, who also ran away for fear of losing his life, said: “The land in dispute was part of the Igbariam Farm Settlement which our community donated to government during the Michael Okpra administration of the old Eastern Nigeria (during the First Republic).

“After the civil war, 360.085 hectares of the land, which was part of the Farm Settlement, was given back to the Igbariam community, the community decided to share it among the seven villages and to keep one share for capital project.

“We have been making use of the land, but in 2014, our President-General, Mr. Ikechukwu Orizu, said we should keep part of it for him. When we objected and called for the survey of the entire land for proper demarcation, our traditional ruler, Igwe Nneli Kelly, refused and threatened to banish Ubaru village which was in the forefront of the demand.”

The traditional ruler, Igwe Nelly, was however not in town to speak on the matter.

In his response, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Mohammed Haruna, said he was yet to be briefed on the matter and promised to provide information when it is available.

Source: News Express

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