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Land Grabbing: Protest in Anambra community


Land Grabbing: Protest in Anambra community

Members of Ifite-Nteje village in Anambra State at the weekend embarked on a protest against land grab­bing by some prominent in­digenes of the area.
 
The protest was pro­voked by the murder of three youths who were alleged­ly killed by suspected thugs sponsored by land grabbers in the area.
The Police, which con­firmed that the ugly incident occurred on Saturday after­noon, told The AUTHOR­ITY that some arrests had been made.
The AUTHORITY learnt that on that fateful day, the villagers had trooped out to the streets to protest the il­legal sale of their lands and the murder of the youths and were addressed by the President-General, Ichie Dave Enuah, and the em­battled Traditional Ruler, Igwe Rowland Odegbo.
 
Confusion ensued when news reached the pro­testers that the alleged spon­sors of the crises in Nteje and the killers of the youths in blood had reinforced for another attack.
This forced the residents to flee the area until Igwe Odegbo intervened.
The monarch appealed to Governor Willie Obiano, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and their representa­tives in the state and feder­al legislatures to rescue them from the cabal.
The spokesperson of Oji­ani Nteje (Oldest Age Grade 80), Chief Charles Edochie, la­mented that Ifite Nteje, which had been known for peace and as the food basket of Nte­je and Oyi Local Government Area, had become a war zone.
Edochie accused some prominent indigenes of the community of mastermind­ing the killing of the youths and the sale of their land and called on the security agents to assist them arrest the situ­ation.
On his part, the commu­nity’s President-General, Ichie Dave Enuah, said that he was still in shock over the killing of the youths at the venue of a meeting by gunmen who opened fire on them without any provocation.
He said that the victims were between the ages of 22 and 24 years, and lamented that his red alert to the police was ignored.
He however vowed to get to the root of the crisis as a lawyer by using available le­gal means.
Enuah said: “I can’t un­derstand why a group of peo­ple should gather themselves to arm some youths to disor­ganise the community and kill their kinsmen. When these hoodlums besieged the meet­ing venue and opened fire on them, the security men were alerted. Unfortunately, noth­ing was done because we have a cabal in Ifite Nteje who felt that they are well connect­ed and have been selling Ifite Nteje land. The same cabal organised these hoodlums to kill our youths who decided to unite and stop the unwant­ed sale of our land. They were killed to disrupt the youths’ emerging unity. We have writ­ten petitions to the boundary committee and security agen­cies as well as the governor but nothing has happened. The cabal called themselves de­velopers but they are depriv­ing the people of their com­munal land’’.
The women of the com­munity, through Mrs. Jane Il­onze, corroborated the story. They alleged the loss of their farm lands to the cabal.
The Chairman of Ifite Nte­je Youth, Nnaemeka Agbamk­pu, decried the “intimidation, harassment and deprivation” imposed on them by the cabal and wondered why the youths were the prime targets.
At the palace, Igwe Ode­gbo, who returned from a three-month medical trip abroad, appealed to the peo­ple to remain calm.
He described as a shame the killing of three of their sons and the reckless sale of the Ifite Nteje land by a cabal and informed them that he had reported the incident to Governor Obiano and the rel­evant security agencies.
Igwe Odegbo who has ap­pealed his removal by the Ap­peal Court, fingered one Chief Mike Nwakalor also known as Wowo as the mastermind of the crisis.
He said that the communi­ty passed a resolution that no­body should sell land without clearance from Ojiani Nteje and the palace.
Odegbo added they agreed that there would be no sale of land in the next two years in Nteje and vowed that the death of the youths would not be in vain. He warned that henceforth any clan where a gunshot is heard will pay a fine of N400,000.
The monarch said that the community has proscribed all youth organisations, but la­mented that some aged men in the community had been arrested and taken to Abuja and Umuahia on the orders of the cabal.
When contacted, Nwaka­lor said that he was shocked that his name had been associ­ated with the killing and land grabbing in the community. He said that Odegbo who is not the elected Igwe of Nteje was doing everything to smear his hard-earned reputation.
Nwakalor said that he was shocked about the incident in Ifite Nteje, stressing that no land or position was worth wasting any human life.
According to him, he had never been associated with any crisis, land grabbing and killing because he had done a lot for the community.
He said he had nothing to do with Ifite Nteje because he is not an indigene of the place.

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