BLOODBATH IMMINENT IN ANAMBRA COMMUNITY -MONARCH CRIES OUT
*as police apprehend imported mercenaries from Delta, Akwa Ibom
*assorted arms, charms, hard drugs recovered
Awka – The traditional ruler of Nawfia in Njikoka local government area of Anambra state, Igwe Chijioke Nwankwo, has raised the alarm of an imminent bloodbath in his community over land dispute and speculation.
The monarch who addressed journalists in Nawfia accused one Mr Ezugo and the Anglican Diocese of Awka of surreptitiously parcelling out and selling parts of the land hitherto donated by his family in conjunction with other families to the Church for the establishment of a school decades ago in 1961 without recourse to the original owners, with impunity.
The monarch confirmed having formally written several letters to the presiding Bishop of the Church, Dr Alexander Ibezim on the ugly observation, without a reply till date. He said the land was given to the church in 1961 for the the sole purpose of building a school- the Comprehensive Secondary School, a written agreement of which he assured they have in their possession.
According to him, over the years after using a reasonable portion of the land to build the school, we recently observed that the remaining undeveloped portion of the land was being sold out to strange faces in bits, without recourse to the community. This was contrary to the original contractual agreement it had with us, the donors.
The monarch contended that the right thing to do in the circumstance was to revert the remaining surplus land to the original owners. But that instead of doing just that, “…they hire thugs and position all manner of criminals on the disputed portion of the land and partition it for sale”, Igwe Nwankwo pointed out.
When I wrote them to stay action on sale and development on any part thereof, they instead mobilized and amassed armed thugs and mercenaries from far and near on the land. I also alerted police which incidentally appeared incapable of handling the situation. Because when a special team currently investigating my initial outcry stormed the land and apprehended some of the thugs, they were released back on the beat to their apparent sponsors almost immediately.
“Curiously these thugs who were hired from, Edo, Delta and Akwa Ibom states and so on were released by the police the same day and today(Thursday) the went back to the land, shooting sporadically. Is this not effrontery?; is this not impunity?; is this not insult to the traditional stool of this community. Is this not corruption?”, the monarch stated.
“I have told them that some people are after my life over this land, but everybody is keeping quiet. I want to be on the side of the law. If I should mobilize the youths of this community to defend their rights on that land, there will be bloodbath in this community.
“I’m a constituted authority in this community; our lives have severally been threatened, and we have kept quite; but they should know that we have the right to defend ourselves.”
But when Bishop Ibezim was contacted for his reaction, he referred journalists to the Church Registrar and or the Legal Adviser for details. But was also quick to ask, “who sent you, was it the community?”
However the Awka diocesan Public Relations officer, Dr Felix Uzor who spoke on the telephone he refuted the allegation that the church was selling the land.
Uzor said “What happened was that the church discovered that there was no agreement with the community about the land when it was given to the church.
“When we discovered this lapse, we reached an understanding with the people who gave us the land and conceded about 30 percent of the land to them so that they could sign a valid and current agreement with us to authenticate our title and interest in the land, since they are also our church members.
But the monarch said recently four hired thugs were ought by the police in the disputed land with three pump action guns, Indian hemp and other dangerous weapons and drugs, while one of the thugs escaped.
The State Police command spokesman Public Relations Officer,DSP Ali Okechukwu said he has not been briefed about the matter, or even the recent arrests by some officers said to be from the State CID this weekend