…Says they want to set the community on fire
By Anayo Okoli
ABOR community, Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State has sent a Save-Our-Soul petition to the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, over what they called intimidation, harassment and threat to life by certain land grabbers who they alleged want to forcefully take over their ancestral land.
They alleged that the said land grabbers are using policemen in Enugu Police Command to “threaten, harass and intimidate” them to forcefully take away their community land worth over N10 billion. They also claimed that few members of the community connived with the highly placed land grabbers to deprive them of their land.
In the petition by their lawyer, A. C Amechi, dated 3rd February, 2021, and copied to the Chairman, Police Service Commission, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Police and the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State; they urged the Inspector-General of Police to intervene urgently to save the community from imminent crisis.
The petition was written on behalf of Ichie Peter Eze, Head of Ozalla Abor Village; Sir Elias Eruchie, Chairman, Ozalla Abor Village Council of Elders; Ichie Cornelius Onodingene, Ichie Callistus Ille, Ichie Vintus Nnadieke, Ichie Gregory Emefu, Pastor Fidelis Udochukwu, Athanasius Akwaka, Festus Ogbu and indeed, Ozalla Abor Village, Abor Autonomous Community, Udi Local Government Area, Enugu State.
Alleging compromise, the lawyer wants the Inspector- General of Police to take over investigation of the case from men of D 13, Enugu Police Command.
“On the 19th October 2020, this law office wrote to you complaining against ten sons of Ozalla Abor village and the Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development, Enugu State. Surprisingly, on the 26th January 2021, at about 3 am, the children of our clients were arrested by Anti-Cult department from Enugu Police; the group our clients complained against had lodged a counter-attack, using the Anti-Cult department. And the following were arrested: Maxwell Obodo, Jude Amadi, Chukwuma Agu, Paul Ifebuche Eze and Ejike Ugwu. They were accused of attempted murder and armed robbery. They were taken to the Chief Magistrate’s Court on the same day of the arrest. They are still in detention till today.
“The investigation, if any, was very hasty. They were arrested by 3:00 am on the 26th of January, 2021 and charged to court at about 9 o’clock same day. There was no previous arrest or invitation yet the same Enugu Police Command has not concluded the investigation on the complaint our clients lodged since July, 2020.
“But no armed robbery took place as alleged. No murder or attempted murder took place as alleged. Nobody was the victim of armed robbery.
“The said arrest was planned to pay our clients for reporting the land grabbers to Enugu Police Command. The worst is that some policemen from Enugu Police Command asked the land grabbers to write a phantom petition against the five elders who told the Chief Magistrate’s Court that the children are innocent of the trumped up charges and that there was no robbery or attempted murder in their village as alleged. They now want to intimidate the senior citizens/elders for speaking the truth.
“In view of the foregoing, we humbly request the following that the complaint of our clients against the underlisted be handed over to the Inspector-General of Police Team from Abuja for discrete investigation. They are John Nnabuchukwu Onyechi, Chukwuka Ugwuigwe, Anthony Eze, Ifeanyi Eze, Ejike Ugwu, Uche Njeze, Innocent Ugwu, Joseph Agu, Everest Udengwu and Ferdinand Agbo,” the petition said.
“We pray you, sir, to note that one or two police officers in Enugu State police command Headquarters are fuelling in Ozalla Abor village by instigating the land grabbers to lodge trump up complaints against our clients’ children and threatening to use same method on our clients. The divisional police officer, 9th Mile, Enugu and his divisional crime officer seem to have been influenced by the land grabbers. The police officer in charge of Area Command, Enugu, was said to be involved in the plan to keep our clients silenced to provide cover for the land grabbers. The role of the assistant commissioner, Enugu State Police Command will also be known if police men from Abuja take over and investigate the complaints therein.
“Finally, we urge sir, not to allow our clients who are the victims to be intimidated by the land grabber of Ozalla Abor village, no matter how rich they are. We also pray you to fish out the police officers, the greedy land grabbers are using as their brain box in their desire to turn victims of their crimes into culprits” the community said in the petition.