Police arrest 84-year-old retired headmaster, others for land dispute
The people of Ubaru in Igbariam, Anambra East Local Government of Anambra State, on Saturday alleged that the police had laid siege to the community.
They said no fewer than 16 persons from the community including an 84-year-old retired headmaster had been arrested and detained by the police in Abuja over a communal land dispute in the area.
They claimed that seven houses were destroyed by some suspected hoodlums allegedly aided by some security operatives.
QUEEN AMINA BLOG
learnt from SUNDAY PUNCH that among the property vandalized was the house of a permanent secretary in the state, Dr Edwin Emenike.
Speaking with our correspondent in Awka, the state capital, Mr. Nnalue Iloegbune, whose house was destroyed, called for government’s intervention on the matter, adding that the entire community was living in fear.
He said every male adult of the community had deserted the area for fear of being killed or arrested by the police and their hirers.
He said, “The land in issue was part of the Igbariam farm settlement which our community donated to government during the Michael Okpra administration of the old Eastern Nigeria.
“After the civil war, 360.085 hectares of the land, which was part of the farm settlement, was given back to Igbariam community. The community decided to share it into eight portions, each for the seven villages and one portion reserved for community development
“We have been making use of the land, but in 2014, our president-general (name withheld) said we should keep part of the land for him.
“When we objected and called for the survey of the land for parcellation, our traditional ruler, Igwe Nneli Kelly refused and threatened to banish Ubaru village which was in the forefront of the demand. “
An 80-year-old widow, Agnes Atomba, who was seen alone in her compound, when our correspondent visited the area, lamented how hoodlums allegedly hired by land speculators and some chiefs in the area attacked her house and made away with N200,000 given to her by her children for feeding and medication.
She said, “I was sleeping at night and suddenly I heard some noise in the compound at about 2am.They were shouting and asking everybody in the house to come out. They came into my room and dragged me out and searched the house.
“When I asked why they stormed my compound, they said they were looking for my son, Lambert, who was against the sale of the community land and I told them he was not at home.”
Another woman, Mrs. Catherine Ogini, said in addition to destroying her house, the hoodlums collected N300,000 belonging to her church women’s group in the community.
She claimed that they collected a television set from her house and threatened to deal with her should she shout.
When our correspondent visited the palace of the traditional ruler of the area, Igwe Nneli, to get his own version of the story, two young men suspected to be his security guards said the monarch was out of town.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr Mohammed Haruna, said he was yet to be briefed on the matter and promised to get back to our correspondent, but he never did.
When our correspondent called him back to remind him of the matter, his telephone rang out.