Land tussle divides monarch, indigenes in Anambra
Some members of the Enugwu Agidi community in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State are at loggerheads with their monarch, Igwe Izuchukwu Okeke Onyeocha, over ownership and possession of some parcels of land in the community.
The aggrieved members of the community, led by the community President-General, Mr Victor Okeke Mgbajiaka, accused the monarch of allegedly masterminding various attacks carried out in the community by suspected land grabbers.
Mgbajiaka, while speaking to journalists during a press conference in Awka on Friday, claimed that 12 persons have been injured and two women allegedly raped by thugs used by the suspected land grabbers.
He said that over 1,000 plots of the community land have been forcefully taken while many farmlands were destroyed by the land grabbers.
The group accused the community monarch of masterminding the activities of the land grabbers, adding that he has been using his thugs to molest and intimidate innocent villagers in order to grab their lands.
He said, “We are calling on Governor Chukwuma Soludo to save us from the activities of these land grabbers who have taken over about 1,000 plots of the community land by force and destroyed the farmland and crops of our people.
“They are parading thugs who have been attacking our people and as of now about 12 persons have been injured and we learnt that two women were raped by those thugs.”
One of the aggrieved members, a 65-year-old woman, who identified herself as Madam Evelyn Okeke-Nta, who also complained of being a victim said, “I went to my farm one day and discovered that all my crops have been destroyed and when I confronted the thugs who came with a bulldozer, they attacked me and warned me that if I disturb their clearing of the land, the bulldozer would run me down.”
But in a swift reaction, Igwe Onyeocha, when contacted, dismissed all the allegations against him, saying he has no hand in any land-grabbing activities as claimed by the aggrieved members of the community.
He added that the plots of land he acquired were officially bought by him with relevant documents to back them up. The monarch challenged the aggrieved members to come up with evidence that he forcefully took over their land.
He pointed out that the community does not have any communal land as claimed by the group.
He said, “Those people are just being jealous and envious and it’s a mere conspiracy by the group to malign me. It is because I refuse to give them money that they turned around to accuse me of land grabbing when they know that there is nothing like communal land.
“One of them came to me after I had bought land from his family and asked me of money for me to gain access to my land and I promised to give him money but when the money wasn’t forthcoming he went about accusing me of land grabbing.
“The man that claimed to be the president general of the town who is also among them is only impersonating because his three months tenure as an interim PG has passed and he is still parading himself as the PG.”
The monarch further added that he also bought land from the family of the president general and that he (PG) took part in the sharing of the money for the purchase of the land.
Though the Anambra State police command did not issue any confirmatory statement as regards the matter when contacted, the aggrieved community members who spoke to journalists, alleged that several petitions to the police yielded no result.