ICYMI

March 23, 2024

Centenary City Crisis: Enugu communities drag alleged land grabbers, Police to National Assembly

Reps

The Obeagu and Amechi-Uwani Awkunanaw communities, native owners of the disputed Enugu Golf and Lifestyle city otherwise known as Centenary city in Enugu south local government area, have dragged the developers of the estate, Private Estates International West Africa limited (PEIWA), the Enugu state government and two senior officers of Enugu state police command, to the National Assembly over allegations of complicity in multiple assassinations and land grabbing.

In separate appeals to the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions, the two Communities drew the attention of the National Assembly to the land impasse and made an urgent plea for the House to use its oversight function in resolving the cases of senseless killings, ensure prosecution on investigations made by the police in the killings of youths and incarceration of others in various police and correctional facilities across the country over the land crisis in both communities, for the interest of justice, law and order.

The petition was against Messrs Kingsley Eze of PEIWA, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), Akinbayo Olasoji and SP Chidiebere Ijioma; while some of the representatives of the Petitioners include Chief Chinweuba Nnaji Aga, Chief Sunday White Nnaji, and Elder Sunday Onuko of Amechi Uwani.

The two communities had at different times petitioned the Police Service Commission and the Enugu State police command on the excesses of DCP Olasoji and SP Ijiomah, alleging that they compromised their positions by completely working for PEIWA and assisting the company to harass, arrest, intimidate and take over their land in clear negation of the operation of the Nigeria Police.

The communities said that they resorted to the National Assembly as their last resort when all hopes appeared lost in the face of the most vicious land grabbing spree, and illegal acquisition of their ancestral lands, followed by reprehensible demolitions perpetrated against them first by PEIWA “led by one Kingsley Eze with his armed thugs and some persons in police uniform; the Enugu State government later procured perhaps to make the demolitions look legitimate.”

The communities lamented the gruesome murder of a police officer, Inspector Celestine Orodiovwe of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) Annex, Enugu, in December 2021, who was investigating the land grabbing case they reported against “some hirelings of the PEIWA,” adding that between 2021 and 2022, the murder of Chidera Ogaba, Comrade Kelvin Ezeoha, Sunday Ngene of Obeagu, among others took place in same pattern, where hooded men were reportedly used to perpetrate the dastardly acts.

“Having said all that, we wish to draw your attention to the persistent invasion of our community and the numerous arrests of our people by the Enugu State Police Command, particularly, SP Chidiebere Ijioma and DCP Akinbayo Olasoji who are being used to terrorize our people in favour of Kingsley Eze and his PEIWA. SP Chidiebere who has been in Enugu State Command for about fifteen years now also lives in the Centenary City estate of PEIWA believed to be a land and property used in settling him as part of compensation/reward for his unlawful engagements.

“This explains why he will go out of his way, regardless of his professional and ethical demands, to please the men who gave him a house where he lives. He has lost his sense of fairness as a police officer. Same as DCP Akinbayo Olasoji, who as the DCP Ops, Enugu State Police Command, personally supervised the demolition of our buildings alongside his officers, just to please his circle of friends made of desperate fellows who want to forcefully seize and sell off our lands.

“We therefore pray that you cause the Inspector General of Police to direct particularly the Department of Force Intelligence (DFI), and Zone 13 Police Zonal Command, Dunukofia, Anambra State to charge to court all the cases we reported for which investigations have been concluded against these land grabbers and their hirelings, in order to deter others and by so doing, protect us from their stranglehold. In the case of DFI, our case which investigation had been concluded since 2021, and the case file reportedly forwarded to the FDPP appears to have been buried. It is our request that you demand for update in respect of this case file and ensure it is resurrected and revisited for the interest of justice.

“That you also implore the police high command to take urgent actions against the excesses of their officers, particularly SP Chidiebere Ijioma and DCP Akinbayo Olasoji of the Enugu State Police Command who from all indications are now providing these land grabbers with police cover under which they ceaselessly harass, intimidate and unjustly hound our members to prison on trumped up charges,” the petitioners pleaded.

When contacted on development, the Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer, Daniel Ndukwe failed to make any comment, while PEIWA’s Chamberlin Mbachu stated that his firm properly acquired the disputed land from the Enugu state government in 2009.