*Family alerts Police of threat to life
*Allegations unfounded –says other family
By Evelyn Usman
Crisis is brewing between two families in Delta state , following an argument over claim to a vast expanse of land known as Chief V. U. Aniemeke Farms, located on old Lagos-Asaba Road, opposite St. Pius Grammar School, Onicha-Ugbo .
Already, one of the families: the Udeze family of the extended Obi Royal Familyin Ogbe-Obi Quarters of Onicha-Ugbo, has raised the alarm over threat to life , alleging that the contending family from Igbodo community had resulted to violence.
The Udeze family who alerted the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Alkali Baba to intervene in the matter before it got out of hand, alleged in a petition written by its counsel, Peter Mrakpor SAN & Partner that the Igbodo community destroyed some economic trees in the land under contention in its bid to forcefully take over it.
However, in a swift reaction, the Odogwu of Igbodo kingdom, Chief Ifeoha Azikiwe , described the claim as false , arguing that the land in contention belonged to his father.
But in the petition, the petitioners who were represented by the trio of Onochie Udeze, Kenneth Udeze and Chidubem Udeze insisted that the land was bequeathed to them by their late father.
Part of the petition read: “ Our client’s late father owned a vast expanse of land known as CHIEF V.U. Aniemeke Farms, which was inherited after his demise. He planted cocoa, palm, ogbono, orange, mango, and pineapples. He also had a big large game reserve with wildlife animals on the vast expanse of land.
“Some years back, our client, while still tender, the people of Idumu-Oze Quarters, Igbodo, forcefully entered into the land, destroyed about 3,0000 standing and producing cocoa trees, over 2,5000 palm trees, 2,2000 ogbono trees, 4,5000 producing trees and over 11000 mango trees.
“Our clients’ late father instituted a matter before the High Court and judgment was given in favour of our clients’ late father in suit no AG/16/74 Godwin lyeke & Anor V. Udeze Aniemeke on the 24th day of May 1977 by Justice F.O.N ATAKE (as he then was).
“Recently, the Igbodo community forcibly entered the land and committed grievous damages by pulling down the gate and taking the same to the palace of the Obi of Igbodo .
“Our client and his brothers went to the Diokpa of Idumu-oze Quarters, Igbodo, to reach an amicable settlement between both parties, but they were pursued with dangerous weapons by the youths of Idumu-Ose quarters, Igbodo.
“Subsequently, our client sent one of his brothers, Mr. Orikaze Udeze, accompanied by a surveyor to go and survey the land to ascertain the level of destruction carried out by the people of Idumu-Oze ,Igbodo.
” But on getting to the land, they were attacked by the same Idumu-oze people, thereby causing grievous harm to their bodies. The youths also seized their motorcycle , motor saw, 20 liters of fuel, including N50,000 cash at hand, tools box, two cutlasses, and their mobile phones.
“ They further drag them to Obi’s palace. But the surveyor was able to escape leaving Mr. Orikeze in the hands of the Igbodo people. He was compelled to sign a written document denying the Udeze family right to the above-mentioned land (subject matter of this petition) . But Mr Orikeze refused to oblige the Obi’s demand, Insisting that the land belonged to the Udeze family. Orikeze was beaten and warned that he and his brothers must not enter the land.
“Our client and his brothers now live in fear , as their lives are in danger and they can’t gain access to their late father’s land.”
In a telephone conversation with Crime Guard, the Odogwu of Igbo kingdom, Chief Ifeoha Azikiwe , clarified that the matter at hand was not between two communities but that it was between two families from different communities.
He recalled that an initial dispute on the boundary between both communities was ongoing about 65 years ago, when the father of the petitioners hijacked the opportunity to build on Igbodo land.
According to him, “ The initial matter was a dispute over a boundary between the Onicha-Ugbo and Igbodo community. Then, Onicha-Ugbo took Igbodo to court in 1958 and the first judgment was given in 1968, ten years after, in favour of Igbodo because Onicha-Igbo cited a secondary school there. Igbodo also won at the Supreme court.
“My father Chief Lazarus was at the centre of the matter because he was a counselor at that time and his mother was from Onitsha-Ugbo. We don’t have a problem with Onitsha-Ugbo on this land you called to get my reaction. The only matter between the two communities is that of the boundary which is before the boundary commission.
“When this boundary matter was on in the 50s and 60s, Udeze took advantage of the matter in court and built it on Igbodo’s land. Onitcha-Ugbo people didn’t support him because they were fighting for their own land with Igbodo.
“ It was not our people that forcefully entered the farmland, rather, he was the one that forcefully entered Igbodo land. Besides, there were no economy trees there.
“All the allegations are unfounded. Rather than saying Igbodo people came to beat him , he should state what happened because he is not telling the real story.
Besides, this case was reported at Igbodo Police station. It was yet to be concluded when we heard of the petition. Where then lies the authority of the DPO?”
Police sources at the Force Headquarters ,Abuja, confirmed receipt of the petition to the Police boss