.Leaders petition CP, gov

By Emmanuel Iheaka

Leaders of Amumaraokahia Village in Adakam Amumara Autonomous Community, Ezinihitte Mbaise L.G.A., Imo State have petitioned the state Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Hussaini to urgently intervene in the affairs of the community in order to avert a looming crisis.

The petition made available to Vanguard in Owerri, Monday, was endorsed by the leaders of the community which include the President General of Amumaraokahia Development Union (Home & Abroad), Njoku David; Chairman, Amumaraokahia Dredging Committee, Osuagwu George and Chairman, Amumaraokahia Village Council, Ogbonna Stanley.

Other leaders are: Chairman, Amumaraokahia Youth Association, Ikechukwu Ogbonna, Chairman, Lagos State Branch, Amumaraokahia Progressive Union, Okechukwu Nwanguma and Chairman, Amumara Development Union, Onitsha, Adolphus Enweremadu.

The leaders appealed to the Commissioner of Police to stop the traditional ruler of the community, Eze O. B. Nwokocha, from further dredging of sand from the village, which is a component of the community.

The petition which was also addressed to the state governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, stated that the monarch has been making use of some of his allies to dredge sand from the rivers in the village without the village getting a share of the revenue from the dredging.

While the village heads said the traditional ruler rebuffed all efforts to involve the village in the dredging, they insisted that the village is left to suffer the environmental damage done by the dredging.

According to the petition, the traditional ruler also failed to abide by a Memorandum of Understanding reached in 2021 in which it was agreed that the village should take control of dredging of their sand but should remit a percentage of the revenue to the community and the palace.

The village said they can no longer fold their hands and allow the traditional ruler to continue to oppress them.

“The Chairman of the Lagos branch of Amumaraokahia Progressive Union, Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma, led a peace delegation to the traditional ruler in his palace sometime in July 2021. He received the delegation and after extensive discussion, it was agreed by all sides that the revenues should be collected and managed by the villages bearing the rivers which will then make contribution to the larger community and the palace.

“At that meeting, he also mandated the Chairman of the Lagos branch of the village union to produce a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to guide and regulate dredging activities in the rivers.

“After wide consultation with several individuals and groups in the village, home and abroad, Mr. Nwanguma came up with MoU which was accepted by the village and submitted to the traditional ruler sometime in August 2021.

“More than 5 months later, the traditional ruler is yet to acknowledge receipt of the MoU. He has since then, neither responded to messages nor answered phone calls by Mr. Nwanguma.

“It is important to note that the MoU also allocates reasonable money to the palace from the total monthly revenue from activities in the rivers. But the traditional ruler prefers to continue to dominate and take the whole benefit from dredging activities in the rivers.

“This petition is prompted by recent resolutions taken by both the youths of Amumaraokahia and the entire village council after their meetings, to the effect that they will no longer tolerate the continued exclusion of their village from participating in decision making about the activities in their river and deprivation of the benefits from their God-given resources.

“We appeal to the Commissioner of Police, Imo State to kindly and urgently intervene and call the traditional ruler and his cohort to order and prevent the breakdown of law and order in our community.

“We also appeal to the CP to order the traditional ruler and his allies to stop forthwith any further activities in the rivers pending the resolution of this dispute in the overall interest of the village”, the petition reads.

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