Idumuje-Ugboko, an agrarian community in Aniocha North Local Government Council of Delta State has been in the news since 2017. The town came to the news radar when in March 2015, LINAS INTERNATIONAL LTD, a company owned by Prince Ned Nwoko requested 90 hectares of land for the establishment of a University and International golf course.
The then Obi, HRM Albert Nwoko III after due consultation with his Chiefs and Land Allocation Committee gave approval with an MOU signed between the beneficiary and the community in which Idumuje-Ugboko was to retain 40% equity shares in the two-star projects while the beneficiary via his company retains 60% shares. The parcel of land in question which was part of an earlier secured land after a protracted land case with the neighbouring Onicha-Ugbo community (1956 – 1969) had a substantial part of it reserved for developmental purposes.
The deal having been sealed, both parties went to work believing that at last, the town will begin to witness rapid development. But in a dramatic twist, a counter letter dated 12 August 2016, began to circulate in the town to the effect that the late Obi, Albert Nwoko III had repudiated his earlier approval letter for the 90 hectares of land for the University and golf course projects.
Pandemonium broke out and one event led to another until mayhem was unleashed on the town by Prince Nonso Nwoko and his cohorts who were later found to have forged the letter which was purported to have been written by HRM Albert Nwoko III. In the midst of the mayhem which found two persons dead and several others maimed and properties of innocents destroyed, Albert Nwoko III died mysteriously in 2017 leaving the town without an Obi for five years until 2021 when a new Obi, HRM Obi Solomon Eziokwubundu Nwabuokei Nwoko was installed following his selection by his community and endorsement by the Aniocha North Traditional Rulers committee, a body statutorily empowered to do so.
In the meantime, the Royal fathers in Aniocha North and the Aniocha North Local Government Council have transmitted separate letters to the Delta State Government requesting the recognition of Solomon Eziokwubundu Nwabuokei Nwoko as the rightful heir to the vacant Idumuje-Ugboko Kingship stool and staff of Office presented to him.
The past years have witnessed a flurry of lies and blatant misrepresentation of facts by some antagonists to the historical truths in Idumuje-Ugboko led principally by Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko who had sought to usurp the Kingship stool without going through the necessary traditional and cultural processes required for Kingship installation. In fact, in 2017 he had unilaterally declared himself Obi after the Late Obi, Albert Nwoko III died in mysterious circumstances.
Some mischief-makers in the town who hope to benefit from misinformation and peddling of deliberate falsehood have laboured unsuccessfully to label Prince Ned Nwoko as a “Land grabber” who has been terrorizing his kinsmen and forcibly taking their lands from them. They have also tried to demonize Prince Ned Nwoko as one who had been incarcerating innocent sons of Idumuje-Ugboko who stood in his way of acquiring farmlands belonging to natives. Many of these lies have now been uncovered and debunked.
For instance, one of the chief propagandists, Chris Aligbe who had petitioned the IGP claiming that for four years Prince Ned Nwoko had been terrorizing his kinsmen for not allowing him access to ancestral lands had his infamous petition jettisoned after a team of policemen from IGP’s office carried out investigations into the matter and found the allegations to be false. Also recently, the immediate past Aniocha North Local Government Chairman, Hon. Chuks Oseme in a terse statement dated 6/1/2021 with the title “My Experience as the Executive Chairman of Aniocha North LGA on the Security Crises in Idumuje-Ugboko” asserted that during his tenure he authorized the issuance of a Right of Occupancy concerning the 90 hectares of approved land to Prince Ned Nwoko through his company, LINAS International Ltd.
He also confirmed that as the Chief Security Officer of the Aniocha North Local Government Council, he personally carried out an investigation into the Idumuje-Ugboko crises and found that most senior chiefs in the community did not want Prince Nonso Nwoko to rule over them. He cited cases of human rights abuses confirmed by the Human Rights Commission which are still subjects of an ongoing trial for terrorism and murder in courts of competent jurisdiction.
With the restoration of peace, following the emergence of a new Obi, HRM Solomon Eziokwubundu Nwabuokei Nwoko in the community, it is believed that the much elusive peace will be restored to the village while the developmental projects such as the international golf course, the proposed STARS University which has reached an advanced stage will commence unhindered by anti-development detractors who aim to reap where they did not sow.