Monday 24th April, 2017
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Nteje, Anambra community sends SOS to Obiano, IGP

Nteje, Anambra community sends SOS to Obiano, IGP

MOKWUGWO SOLOMON reports that Ezioye village, Nteje, Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State, has sent Save Our Soul (SOS) message to Governor Willie Obiano and the Inspector General of Police, urging them to save the community from constant police inversion, harassment and intimidation.
Ownership of a large ex­panse of land called ‘Ogbe’ in Ezioye village, Nteje, has brought untold tension to the town. Indigenes of the com­munity, especially people from Ezioye, Isiogugu, Odoye, Amuda and Iruchima villages that are cur­rently fighting over the land are sleeping with their eyes widely opened because of fear of the unknown. There have been re­ported cases of abduction, burn­ing of houses, molestation and indiscriminate arrest of residents of the town, especially residents of Ezioye and Isiogugu villages.
Majority of residents of Ezi­oye and Isiogugu, the two vil­lages where the trouble is more severe, now prefer to seek ref­uge at nearby communities of Nkwelle-Ezunaka and Umueri because of alleged inversion and harassment of their residences in the night by armed individu­als believed to be policemen.
Mr. Chito Odiaka, the Secretary General of Ezioye Development Union, told The AUTHORITY that the problem among some villages in Nteje community started when Odokwe, Amuda and Iruchima villages sharing boundaries with Ezioye suddenly started claiming co-ownership of Ogbe farmland which, according to him, is an ancestral land of Ezioye village.
Odiaka said that Ogbe farm­land rightfully belongs to Ezi­oye , and that is why it is called Ogbe-Ezioye farmland; but suddenly, neighboring villages started claiming co-ownership of the land, saying that it is a com­munal land, and that it must be shared, not only by indigenes of Ezioye village but also by resi­dents of the neighboring villages.
According to him, when the other villages saw that Ezioye could not succumb to their an­tics, they devised other strategies including arresting residents of Ezioye with police, inversion of the village at night hours, moles­tation of the villagers, destruc­tion of their farmlands and eco­nomic trees, among other things.
“In the night of Friday, Febru­ary 24, 2017, at about 8.00pm, a team of policemen in a Hilux Van invaded our village, shot spo­radically in the air and sprayed tear gas in the village, causing residents to run helter-skelter.
“The policemen were accom­panied by some members of the other villages claiming our land. At the end, scores of residents of Ezioye were found unconscious with many of them sustaining bullet wounds. This is not the first time this kind of thing is happen­ing to us. It is a constant thing.”
“It is disturbing that some rich and prominent people in our so­ciety will prefer to sponsor this kind of evil with their money. They are doing this instead of channeling their wealth into de­velopmental projects”, he added.
Odiaka said that at the peak of the crisis, Ezioye community approached an Otuocha High Court under Justice G.C. Anu­lude, where they got court injunc­tion restricting further arrest and molestation of residents of Ezioye by the police but that even after that, the molestations continued.
Other elders of Ezioye, including Pious Madukolu, Mike Onwueg­busi and Simon Onwuegbusi, who also spoke to The AUTHORITY, corroborated what Mr. Odiaka said and called on Governor Wil­lie Obiano, the Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of Police in Anambra State, Mr. Sam Okaula, to come to their rescue.
When the Commissioner of Police in Anambra State, Mr. Sam Okaula, was contacted to tell the level of involvement of police in the Nteje crisis, he said that the case is being investigated; but he declined further comment.

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