The Enugu State Government has been accused of forcefully hijacking community lands in Ugwuaji Autonomous Community, Enugu South Local Government of the state.
This accusation came through a letter by the Civil Liberties Organization, South East Chapter, in which they are pointing accusing finger at the Governor of Enugu State, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; State Commissioner for Housing, Vitus Okech; General Manager State Housing Development Corporation, Chuks Agu.
The organization also extended the accusation to one Ozor; one Nwodo, alias Stainless.
Also included were Mathew Nnyia, Joseph Onuh and Okafor Ugwu.
According to CLO, the said layout is a land of Ndiaga/Umunnugwu, who called a surveying firm, KOR Surveying and Investment Company Limited, owned by Surveyor Raphael C. Chukwu, to do a layout of their lands and that he the surveyor will be paid by percentage.
The letter went ahead to indicate that the Surveyor firm went into survey and mapping out the lands into layout and creating roads.
The mapping resulted to 1006 plots of lands, based on the agreement reached 18 per cent of the 1006 plots and lands for expenditure.
According to the agreement reached in 2012, both the Surveyor firm and the villages agreed that the Surveyor will bear all the expenditure on the survey and mapping of the Layout and to be paid in percentage through allocation of lands to him or his company.
The CLO further in saying that after the Surveyor was settled by the Community he worked for in 2013, a group from nearby village with the name Isiagu Youths Ugwuaji, raised the issue in 2019 that the lands given to the Surveyor’s firm is theirs.
The CLO accused the Isiagu youths of harassing the Survey firm staff, demolishing fence erected by the firm, creating obstruction to the firm from accessing and harnessing the fruit of their labour.
In an interaction Bende Analyst had with Surveyor R. C. Chukwu, the Principal Partner in KOR Surveying and Investment Company Limited, on the contract with the two villages in Ugwuaji, he stated that the Isiagu Youths are the stumbling block that are preventing his firm from utilising the plots given to them for the work they did.
The genesis of the matter started in 2012 when the Ndiaga and Umunnugwu villages approached the Surveyor’s firm, KOR Surveying and Investment Company Limited, for a Private Partnership Project and the contract, dated 2012, was entered by both parties.
The contract was made between the KOR Company and the following: Sunday Ani, Ifekandu Edeh, Sunday Nwankwo, Ifeanyi Nfiaji, Ogbodo Ozoemena .A., Aniagu Okwudiri, Eneh Chizoba, Ogbodo Emmanuel, Atu Chimobi, Okoh Henry .O., Aninwene Bonaventure, Ugwu Gideon and Agbo Don Luky who signed for themselves and on behalf of the Umunnugwu and Nidaga families/villages.
The term of agreement was 18 per cent. The calculation was 18 per cent of 1,006, which is 181 and another four plots given for expenditure, making the plots 185.
Having done the job and in fulfillment of terms of the contract, a Deed of Assignment was entered into in 2013.
The Deed of Assignment was made between KOR Surveying & Investment Company Limited and the representatives of Umunnugwu and Ndiaga Villages and Families, in respect of the 185 (One Hundred and Eight Five) Plots.
The claim of the Isiagu Youths on the land started the trouble.
During the interview Chukwu stated that the Isiagu people have no right over the land they are claiming, as it does not belong to them.
According to him, the boundary between Valley Layout of Isiagu (E/378) and Umunnugwu/Ndiaga Layout (E/412) is a 12 meter road, pointing out that the Isiagu Village sold their own lands known as Valley Layout to the Academic Staff Union of University, University of Nigeria Nsukka Chapter.
Chukwu stated that the crisis started on January 28, 2020 when he sent his staff to the site to replant survey beacons removed by unknown persons.
While the workers and the clients were on the site, four Isiagu youths came, armed with short guns, confiscated the workers Survey equipments (TOTAL STATION) and drove them away.
Those that allegedly came were: Maduabuchi Egbo, Uchenna Agwu, Nnanna Ugwu and Chidiebere Okorie.
The encroachment by the Isiagu youths did not go down well with the Umunnugwu youths who, are co-owners of the Ndiaga/Ummunugwu layout.
In an interaction with the Youth Chairman of Umunnugwu community, Hon. Daniel Ani, he stated that when the lsiagu youths went into encroachment of the land, Umunnugwu youths called the lsiagu youths to order.
They tried to reason with them on the need for peace to reign, but they refused to listen, Ani said.
He said instead, the lsiagu youths came to Umunnugwu, destroyed things and caused havoc in the Community.
The youths Chairman went ahead to say that instead of the Umunnugwu youths to fight back, they wrote a petition to the then Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team Enugu Office.
Some men were sent and two people were arrested: Prince Uchenna igwedinma and Mr. lsaiah Ogbodo.
The arrested people, who are from lsiagu, at the Police station pleaded that there should be settlement, promising that there would be no more trouble.
It was agreed that peace should reign.
In January 2020, the Isiagu youths started planning another attack on Umunnugwu community.
This led to the Umunnugwu people going back to the IRT in Enugu, where they had earlier reported the matter.
On the day that the IRT visited lsiagu, the youths were holding a meeting.
The IRT decided not to interrupt the meeting and the policemen entered their vehicle and started leaving.
According to the youths leader, who was the person who went with the Police to lsiagu, as the Police vehicle was about to move, the lsiagu youths started throwing stones and bottles at it and also fired gunshots.
Ani said it was the gunshots that made the Police to go into self-defence.
He, however, said there was no arrest or death or death from the encounter.
Few days after the crisis, the lsiagu people came up with the claim that two of their sons were killed during the crisis.
The lsiagu people reported to the Police and arrests were made.
Those arrested were from Umunnugwu.
The number was put at six.
After about five to six days of the arrest, the Umunnugwu people went to Abuja, with the Policemen from the IRT who came to lsiagu.
The Umunnugwu told the Police in Abuja their own side of the story, showed evidence of pictures of damages done by the lsiagu youths when they came to Umunnugwu to cause havoc.
They went ahead to state that the Policemen from IRT equally told the Police in Abuja that it was the lsiagu youths that attacked them first with stones and bottles and later started firing bullets on the Police.
They even brought along with them and showed the vehicle that they went with during the operation riddled with bullet holes, saying the Police fired back in self-defence and that there was no casualty or arrest.
Still from Chukwu’s earlier interview, he pointed out that when the Isiagu youths snatched working equipment from his workers, the matter was reported to the Independence Layout Police Station, Enugu on January 28, 2020 and for two weeks no arrest was made, but rather the Isiagu Youths wrote a petition to the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State, accusing him of intimidation and forgery of land documents.
When the Enugu State Central Investigation Department, which the State Commissioner of Police assigned the matter to, called for an interview with both parties, the Isiagu youths failed to honour the invitation.
When the encroachment of the Isiagu youths continued, KOR Company contracted FAF Constructions to fence her plots.
The construction company, in seeking security, wrote the Enugu State Commissioner of Police requesting for the service of the Counter Terrorism Unit.
The letter was dated March 17, 2020.
Another letter dated March 30, still on security, was written by the same construction company to Commanding Officer of the 103 Battalion, Nigeria Army, asking for soldiers.
While the security men are on duty, the youths will not come for confrontation, but as soon as the security men leave, the youths would come and destroy the fence erected by the FAF Construction Company.
On the letter written by the FAF Construction Company to the 103 Battalion, KOR Surveying & Investment Company Limited wrote a letter dated May 18, 2020 to the GOC 82 Division, Enugu for Army security at the site.
The reply of the letter, dated May 22, 2020, with reference number: 82DIV/EI/300/74, was signed by Colonel CBO Waziri.
Having seen that the Police in Enugu would not curtail the activities of the Isiagu youths, a petition was then forwarded to Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on malicious damage, threat to life and criminal conspiracy.
The IGP assigned the investigation of the job to Special Tactical Squad, Abuja Office.
The STS sent invitation to the youths and came to Enugu from Abuja thrice to meet the lsiagu Youths without success.
The STS decided to track the youths.
In a meeting somewhere at Ogbuodo Layout, Enugu, some people were arrested May 27, 2020 and moved to Enugu SARS.
At the SARS Office, three of them were singled out and taken to Abuja: Matthew Nyia, Okafor Ugwu and Joseph Onu, all from Isiagu Village.
On the killing of the said Isiagu youths, Hon. Ani in an interaction with Bende Analyst stated that it was the Umunnugwu youths who invited the Police over the encroachment into their Layouts, and not Surveyor Chukwu or KOR Company.
Ani noted that Isiagu youths and their sponsors, including the three arrested on May 27, 2020, have been encroaching on different parts of Umunnugwu/Ndiaga Layout (E/412) as well as Achionaa Layout Phase II Extension, lying across the High Tension Power Lines in the north of Valley Layout (E/378).
For this, Isiagu youths had issue with Umunnugwu youths, who reported the former to the Police.
Based on a counter petition written by Isiagu youths and their sponsors, dated June 2, 2020 on the matter already being investigated by the IRT in Abuja on the murder case of January 14, 2020, the IGP directed the new petition to another team of the Intelligence Response Team, which had earlier gone into investigating the case based on the petition raised by the Umunnugwu.
The new team of IRT arrested Chukwu on June 10, 2020 and took him to Abuja.
While the STS, from the IGP’s Office, was working on the case reported by Chukwu, the IRT is working on the petition from the Isiagu youths.
This can be seen through letters with reference numbers: CR: 3000/FHQ/IRT/ABJ/ADM/VOL.B3/
The two Departments were still battling with the case when the Isiagu youths wrote another petition on the same case of killing two Isiagu Youths.
This time, the case was assigned to the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
Thus three Departments in the Office of the IGP are investigating just one case.
This was after the Enugu State Police command and the Nigerian Army failed to handle the matter.
The team came into Enugu on July 2, 2020 and arrested Surv. Chukwu in a manner that berated Police Profession on the same allegation of killing the lsiagu youths.