..Charges Security Agencies to bring
Perpetrators to book
From Nwogha Ndubuisi, Abakaliki
The Executive Chairman of Ebonyi Local Government Area, Barr Prince Chinedu Uburu Wednesday condemned the unwarranted attack on the people of Ndiefi-Ishieke, Mbeke Community and appealed for calm as the matter is under investigation.
It was gathered that the attack which occured in the early hours of 3:am last week Tuesday, displaced over 100 persons, 11 injured and several houses destroyed.
Speaking to journalists in Abakaliki, Prince Uburu frowned at the incident and charged security agencies to ensure perpetrators are brought to book.
He described the incident as ungodly and calculated attempt to tarnish his good image, hence, called on the affected village to support government effort to bring lasting peace in the area.
“I got a report of land dispute from Ndiefi village and I was made to know that the matter was already in the court, and I told them that I will not comment on the matter until the court gives their judgement.”
“However, last week one Mr Sunday Edeh wrote to my office, that they were planning a burial, that they needed security to carry out the burial, immediately I minuted it to DPO, Ugbodo police station in charge of the jurisdiction.
“On Friday, on my way to the village, I got a call that there were presence of army officers in Ndiefi village, I was surprised because I had earlier on notified the DPO of Ugbodo and if there is any issue, my office should have been notified. But I didn’t get any official notification neither by call or in writing rather someone from the village who should have my phone number to call if there’s security issue called army officers without my knowledge.
” I immediately rushed to the village and discovered that they were invited by somebody from the village, after much interaction with the army officers they left, and I have to wait for a while to ensure there’s no problem in the area before I left.
He added, ” Since then until some Journalists started calling to tell me about what happened at Ndiefi-Ishieke, I did not get any information about skirmish again from the village. And I went to the police station to notify them about the incident and they alongside DSS officers went round the place to see by ourselves, it was a disheartening incident.”
Meanwhile, Prince Uburu frowned at some speculations making the round which linked the attack to kindred dichotomy and warned against politicizing the ugly incident.
“I don’t understand what those making kindred colouration over the inhumane action tend to achieve, they said the land was shared to villagers, the question is, that land was it shared to a particular kindred? And if that is the case why was other kindred equally affected?.
” Because if it was kindred issue they would have targeted it only on sole kindred that the man linking it belong to, why is it that other kindred was also affected, that is if actually the land was communal land. And like I said I don’t want to comment on any issue that is in court,” he stated.
Reacting to the allegations of his involvement in the crisis, he stated that it was a cheap blackmail targeted at tarnishing his image.
Uburu described the allegation as false, emphasizing that he derives no pleasure in hurting the lives and property of the people he sworn to protect.
“I don’t have any hand in what is happening at Ndefi, the only thing I did was that I tried everything to make sure there is peace in that village.”
“This is the village I haven’t slept all my life, that they alleged that I led thugs and displaced over 300 persons. Of what gain will it be to me that as a local government Chairman or as a Lawyer?
“I will organize thugs to attack my people! It is quiet a cheap blackmail. Uburu said
He disclosed that the police has swung into action to ensure absolute tranquility is restored in the area while they bring perpetrators to face the law.
The Council Chairman, however appealed to stakeholders in the area to embrace peace as no Community developed under rancour and skirmish.
THE GENESIS OF THE CRISIS:
It was gathered that the hostilities emanated from a minor community land issue at Ndiefi Ishieke village where a certain family named Okuku Edeh family is laying claim to a particular parcel of land which hitherto belonged to the entire community.
According to one Mr. Edeh Sunday, the deposed village head of Ndiefi village said that the particular parcel of land was the community land reserved for anybody that is traditionally qualified to own a land as it is been allotted to such person regardless of the clan and where the person came from, “One of such person is Okuku Ede who was allotted a portion of the land in 2020.”
He explained that immediately after collection of the land, Mr. Okuku Ede wanted to claim the remaining portion of the land by erecting a small hut on the remaining land. While the entire village of Ndiefi were against the intention of Mr. Okuku Ede.
At the time, one of his brother, Mr Christopher Ede died and the burial of the decreased was fixed for march 31st 2023.
The embattled village head further explained that Mr. Okuku Edeh had perfected his plans by planning to bury the late brother on the land in question which he said the villagers vehemently opposed.
According to him, “to show their opposition, a petition was written and submitted to the ‘‘ SWAT’’ office of the Nigeria Police at the Police Headquarters in Abakaliki and the parties viz; Okuku Ede family and the villagers led by the petitioner, Dr. Benjamin Nwoba were invited on the 30th of march 2023 for possible resolution of the issue.
Explaining what transpired at the ‘‘SWAT’’ office, Dr Nwoba revealed that with inducements and reasons best known to the men of the security agency, they were instructed that Mr. Okuku Edeh should be allowed to bury the deceased on the disputed land. Despite the fact that the decision did not go down well with the entire villagers.
“We resigned to our fate awaiting the outcome of the case that had earlier been filled in court over the encroachment of the land by Mr. Okuku Edeh.
He maintained that the entire team left the ‘‘SWAT’’ office by 9pm on that 30th of march, only to be called on phone by around 3am on 31st of march that the village of Ndiefi was under attack.
“Initially, everybody was scampering into safety leaving the assailants allegedly led by one Nwabueze Igboke (an indigene and equally a soldier with the Nigerian Army with some hired men) to perfect their deeds by looting, burning and inflicting injuries on those they were able to lay hands on.
The villagers called on the Governor Elect, Rt Hon Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru to intervene in the issue so as to bringing permanent peace in the village.