There was a tense atmosphere in Abakpa in Nike area of Enugu state when two soldiers, one in uniform and another in mufti tried to torn the poster warning Fulani herdsmen against grazing in the area.
The soldier in the uniform was the one who tore down the poster and was shocked by what followed his action. The youths who are already fade up with the menace of the Fulani herdsmen, descended on him and beat him up. When his colleague tried to join the fight, he too got a good dose of the beating.
These soldiers left and called up for a backup, which arrived reportedly with three helux pickup trucks filled with soldiers. To their surprise, these soldiers met a great number of youths fully armed and ready to take the fight to the soldiers. The youths also mounted a total road block to check further vehicular movement as part of their security measures against the soldiers.
These scenes and others really register the dissatisfaction of the communities against the activities of the criminal Fulani herdsmen.
WILFUL DEMOLITION OF MY PROPERTY: A CRY FOR JUSTICE WILFUL DEMOLITION OF MY PROPERTY: A CRY FOR JUSTICE
The Governor of Enugu State, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is after my life. He wants to take over my large expanse of land known as the Airport Road Layout Phase IV and V. This lands measures over 400 plots. I bought it from Umuenwene Iji, Nike, Enugu, Enugu East local government area in 2008. But the plot by the Gov Ugwuanyi to terminate my life and take over the land came to a head precisely on Friday, August 14, 2020. That was two days (12th of August, 2020) after the execution of the Order of Mandamus by an Enugu State High Court issued to the IGP to make sure that I take over full possession of my property which Gov Ugwuanyi was hiding under the cover of the Federal Ministry of Aviation to grab from me by claiming that it is now part of Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu. Let me state this unequivocally that I am a patriotic Nigerian. So I am not opposed to government acquiring any land, including my own for overriding public interest. I also know that normally acquisition is done through due process. But what Gov Ugwuanyi is trying to do in my case is completely different. He wants to appropriate my land for his personal gain, using his office as the governor of Enugu state to achieve that.
My travails started about 5 years ago when the then Chairman of Enugu East LGA, Hon. Cornelius Nnaji and his nephew the Speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly approached me to give them half of the entire layout or they would use their position to take away the land from me. When I refused and called their bluff they now went and incited Umuchigbo community and Edward Ubosi’s community to start laying claims to my land. Both communities went to court against me over the ownership of the layout. But the court presided over by Justice J.O. Odugu in suit no. E/247/2015 gave judgment in my favour. Consequently, I employed five security men to guard the layout for me. But Nnaji and his cohorts wrote a petition to Governor Ugwuanyi that I was harboring kidnappers in the place. One fateful day the Governor led a team of security operatives to the layout and arrested my security men, tagged them criminals and charged them to court. They were remanded in prison custody for good one year before I could secure their release through the court. The Governor even approached the then State Commissioner of Police Enugu State, Mr. Ojukwu, to arrest me, accusing me of harbouring kidnappers in the place. But the Commissioner explained that he was aware of the presence of the security men at the layout and that I was not harbouring kidnappers there. So the Commissioner declined the order to arrest me.
Determined on taking my land forcefully from me, Nnaji and his cohorts brought in one Emeka Ene, the Managing Director, En-Power Energy Ltd, based in port Harcourt and empowered him to start construction of a free Trade Zone in the layout. Nnaji even invited Governor Ugwuanyi to come and declare the place a free trade zone, the same land he had earlier accused me of harbouring kidnappers in. Nnaji further co-opted two serving commissioners in Enugu state government and promised them five plots of land each in the layout. They went into the land and demolished 25 duplexes, nearing completion, claiming that the layout is a free trade zone belonging to the Enugu State Government.
The owners of the demolished buildings now sued to court, alleging that I sold government land to them. The trial Judge, Justice A.R Ozoemena, in suit no. E/642/2016 gave judgment in my favour, stating that I am the bona fide owner of the layout and that the layout neither belongs to the Enugu State Government nor was it revoked by it. It was after I took possession of the layout based on this judgment that Gov Ugwuanyi invited me. When I met with the Governor I complained to him how Hon. Nnaji, Hon Edward Ubosi and some serving commissioners under him have been trying to dispossess me of my land. Convinced about my plight the Gov invited the Commissioner for Lands Mr. Solomon Onah that very night and warned him in my presence to desist from trying to dispossess me of my land.
Surprisingly, two months after my meeting with the Governor in 2018, they drafted some mobile Policemen to give protection to the area, saying they were protecting the Akaunu Ibiam International Airport land. This is the same layout Hon Nnaji and gang earlier claimed belonged to Umuchigbo community, later a free trade zone of the Enugu state government, is now being claimed to be the property of the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Aviation. To make good their scheme they co-opted the manger of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Chief Security officer of FAAN Enugu, including some Air force men to be guarding the area. Meanwhile Nnaji and co have sold some plots of land from the same layout they claim belong to the Federal Government to private developers to the extent that 30 buildings were erected in the layout. Obvious that Nnaji and his cohorts have convinced the Enugu State Government to dispossess me of the land, I now ran to the Inspector General of Police and explaining my plight he gave me some police protection. Two weeks after, I moved in there and started construction. The Enugu State Commissioner for Capital Development Authority and some officials of FAAN, accompanied by operatives of the Nigerian police and the Air Force, loaded in five Hilux trucks stormed my layout and demolished several buildings and five thousand beacons. They said the buildings were obstructing free flow of traffic in the Airport, claiming the demolished buildings were illegal structures on FAAN land.
It is important to state here that Emeka Ene the MD of En-Power who Nnaji as the chairman of Enugu East LGA brought and gave C/O on my layout took me to court, claiming ownership of the layout. I am now in court with him over the land in suit no. E/094/2019. Note also that the same Hon Nnaji who is now claiming the layout belongs to the Federal Government has also sued along his brothers to an Enugu State High Court (Court 8) in suit no. E/9/2020, claiming that the layout belongs to their Nnaji nuclear family.
In the course of my travails, I had also reported the matter to the EFCC whose officials after investigation turned in their report in my favour. With the recent completion of the renovation work at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Governor Ugwuanyi is now trying to hide under the perimeter fencing of the Airport to take over my layout. To achieve this they decided to fence in my layout which is over 400 plots into the Airport land. I then approached an Enugu State High Court which issued an order of mandamus, compelling the State Commissioner of Police to assist me possess my land. Consequently, the Commissioner gave me 40 police men to execute the order of mandamus which is to assist me take full possession of my layout by removing illegal structures built on it. This incident happened on Wednesday August 12, 2020. The Governor of Enugu State was later to drive to the Layout, accompanied by heavy security men. Fuming with rage, the Governor said that I damaged Federal Government property with armed thugs. He then drove straight from to my private residence at No 23 Eziokwe str. Trans Ekulu, Enugu. Fortunately, I was not in house when he came, but he met a friend of mine Hon. Arc. Paul Eze who was a colleague of his in the National Assembly. Hon Eze represented Uzo-Uwani/Igbo Etiti Federal Constituency while the Gov represented Udenu/Igbo Eze North Federal Constituency. Hon. Eze is currently paralysed and is recuperating in my house after he was discharged from the hospital. Governor Ugwuanyi told Eze that he had come to demolish my house and that he would kill me; that I cannot come from Anambra state and be contesting a choice property with him in Enugu State where he is the Governor.
The Governor later invited the Minister for Aviation and told him that I used some armed thugs to destroy FAAN property at the Airport and that I should be dealt with. The Governor immediately followed up by demolishing my two palatial duplexes. Painfully, I did not remove even a pin before the houses were demolished. He even declared a manhunt for me and directed that I should be shot on sight.
This is the trouble I am passing through in the hands of Gov Ugwuanyi. I am appealing for the intervention of well meaning Nigerians, especially illustrious Igbo sons and daughters to help me secure my life and my hard earned layout.
Arc J.J Emejulu Nkolofia Village, Awka Etiti Anambra State
Nkwubor community in Emene in Enugu East LGA of Enugu state was thrown into state anger and quesions as body of unidentified dead woman was discovered floating on Nkwubor river.
Just less than 48hrs after the body of a woman in her early 60s was discovered in her farm in Nchatacha, who was identified as Mrs Regina Mba also in Emene.
It was gathered that the river in which the corpse was discovered is one of the major source of water for the residents of Nkwubor as there’s no supply of portable water in this suburb of the state capital.
The floating corpse was discovered by the residents of the area that came to fetch water from the river on Saturday. They quickly alerted Emene police command.
The police command spokesman, SP Ebere Amaraizu who spoke to our correspondent confirmed the incident saying “the deceased was a young woman and the command has commenced a full investigation to ascertain the identity of the lady and what led to her death.
According to him, “the death could be as a result of flooding as this is the rainy season and there was no report of violence In the area but the command is working very hard to establish the cause of her death and identity.”
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About 20 persons in Ukpabi Nimbo, an agrarian community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, were feared dead during an attack by Fulani herdsmen on Monday. It was learnt that scores of armed cattle herdsmen, reportedly numbering more than a hundred, swooped on the sleepy community in the early hours of Monday. Sources in the community disclosed that continuous gunshots were heard as the rampaging herdsmen moved to sack villagers from their homes. Apart from guns, bows and arrows and machetes, or swords, were also wielded by the herdsmen, it was learnt.
Many of the villagers escaped to neighbouring communities in the Uzo-Uwani area, but it was gathered that people in the nearby towns are also worried about possible attacks from the herdsmen. A police source told our correspondent that, as of the time of filing this report, the corpses of five persons who died in the attack had been recovered.
Our correspondent learnt that the corpses, which were deposited at the morgue in Bishop Shanahan Hospital, Nsukka, were recovered from farmlands.
There were indications that more bodies would be recovered, as our correspondent learnt that the combined team of police and military personnel, who moved into the community to repel the attack, were yet to get to all the affected areas.
Also, sources in the Ukpabi Nimbo community insist more than 20 of their kith and kin were killed before a rescue could come. However, Police Public Relations Officer, Enugu State Police Command, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu, who informed to our correspondent that the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Nwodibo Ekechukwu, led other officers and men to the area, said the total number of casualties could not be ascertained as of the time of filing this report.
Amaraizu, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone, said the situation in the community had been brought under control. “We moved in to ensure that the situation did not degenerate beyond control and right now everything is under control. “The Commissioner of Police is there with other officers and men and the area is being secured.
“We can’t give the total number of casualties yet, it is when the operation is concluded that we will collate figures and give a definite number,” Amaraizu said. Many members of the Ukpabi Nimbo community, who are mostly farmers, have their homes around their farmlands. It was gathered that several houses, as well as farms and crops, were also destroyed by the herdsmen.
Our correspondent learnt that the herdsmen had previously fallen out with the villagers over their grazing activities in the community. Sources in the community disclosed that the villagers had been resisting the use of their farmlands as grazing fields by the herdsmen. It was equally learnt that the situation further degenerated after some herdsmen who operate in Ukpani Nimbo and other communities in the Uzo-Uwani area claimed that their cows were missing. There were also claims by the herdsmen that some of their colleagues were killed in the area.
The villagers alleged that most of the herdsmen that were involved in Monday’s attack were ‘imported’ from Nasarawa State by other Fulani herdsmen who were already operating in Enugu. Our correspondent gathered that, before the herdsmen struck on Monday, there was tension in Ukpabi Nimo and other communities in the Uzo-Uwani area over a widespread rumour that about 500 herdsmen were mobilising to attack them.
It was learnt that the villagers, in anticipation of an imminent attack by herdsmen, had alerted the Enugu State Government, and the leadership of the Enugu State Police Command.
According to sources, the Chairman, Transition Committee, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area, Cornell Onwubuya, who was said to have informed the state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and the police commissioner, Nwodibo Ekechukwu, of the fears nursed by villagers, also met the leadership of the Hausa-Fulani community in the area over the matter.
Interestingly, the rumoured planned attack by 500 herdsmen was the subject of an emergency stakeholders meeting in the Uzo-Uwani area council during the weekend, hours before the herdsmen struck. The meeting, reportedly, also deliberated on incessant herdsmen-related problems in the area, including several cases of murder, kidnappings and rape recorded in the recent past.
At the meeting, Onwubuya, chairman of the Uzo-Uwani local council, reportedly disclosed that some leaders of the Hausa-Fulani community had confirmed the rumoured plan by the herdsmen to launch an attack in the area.
Also at the said emergency stakeholders meeting, leaders of the Hausa-Fulani community in Enugu reportedly assured that they would take urgent steps to avert the planned attack.
However, the attack still went ahead, as planned, despite the prior notice given to the authorities, and the assurances given at the stakeholders meeting. (Punch)
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A teenage girl Ngozi Eze, who went for a JAMB lesson in Enugu was found lifeless after being allegedly raped to death by unknown men.
The girl who was a JAMB candidate and taking evening classes in preparation for the UTME examination was found dead in a bush behind Community Secondary School, Imufu, Enugu.
After long hours of no return from her JAMB lessons, the family searched for her and declared her missing.
Jonathan Eze, the deceased’s father revealed he had earlier dropped her daughter with his motorbike at the tutorial centre.
Mourning the death of his daughter, Eze told the crowd that gathered in the bush where his daughter’s corpse was found that he took her on his motorcycle to the Township School, Ogrute, Enugu Ezike, where she went for JAMB lessons in the evening of Tuesday.
According to him, he went back later to pick her only to be informed that somebody had given her a lift.
“I left Township School, Ogrute and went home straight, hoping to see her but she wasn’t there. We waited till 8 pm and started looking for her.
“She was not the type that normally socialises. We did not sleep as her telephone number was switched off. It was only this morning (Wednesday) that we got information that her corpse was found here.
“She was to enter the university last year when she completed her secondary education but we prevailed on her to exercise patience for her elder brother to graduate because we cannot afford to train two persons in the university.
“Since then, she has been working hard to gain admission this year, but this is what has now happened.” (Peplnews.net)
The apex socio-political body of the Igbo, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has expressed disappointment over the Federal Government’s inability to revive coal production in Enugu.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, while campaigning before the 2015 elections, promised to revamp the moribund coal industry, which had been abandoned for several years.
Buhari had promised that the abundant coal deposits in Enugu would be harnessed to grow the Nigerian economy, and also generate employment opportunities for youths in the South-East and other parts of the country.
The then All Progressives Congress presidential candidate had also assured the people that the coal deposits would be used to revamp the Oji River Power Station, which generated electricity for the defunct Eastern Region.
However, about three years after Buhari won the election and assumed office as the President, the Enugu coal mines have remained moribund.
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mr Chuks Ibegbu, on Sunday said the Federal Government’s failure to revive coal production in Enugu was disappointing.
Speaking with our correspondent in Enugu, the Ohanaeze spokesman said coal deposits in Enugu could transform Nigeria’s economy if the Federal Government decided to develop the sector.
“We are very much disappointed that the Buhari-led Federal Government has not been able to fulfil the promise to revive the coal industry in Enugu.
“It is very unfortunate that the coal mines seem to have been forgotten.
“But we will continue to remind the Federal Government of the urgent need to revamp the coal industry in Enugu, and in so doing, also revive the Oji River Power Station,” Ibegbu said.
The Ohanaeze spokesman noted that the revival of the coal industry would be to the benefit of the entire country, and not only the South-East geopolitical zone.
“We all know that coal was driving the Nigerian economy before the discovery of oil in the Niger Delta region,” Ibegbu said. (Punch)
A gang of highway armed robbers, who planned to make quick cash on the Christmas Eve, have landed in the police net in Enugu.
Four members of the gang – Kenneth Eze, Ojobo Ude, Emeka Eze and Sunday Ugwu – were arrested while attempting to rob passengers of a commercial bus along Ninth Mile/Nsukka Expressway.
It was gathered that on December 24, members of the six-man gang, who were dressed in fake police uniforms, mounted a roadblock on the expressway, where they stopped two commercial buses.
The hoodlums diverted the buses, which were conveying passengers travelling from Lagos, into the bush.
They were dispossessing the passengers of their valuables when operatives of the Ninth Mile Police Division of the Enugu State Police Command, who got wind of the development, confronted them.
It was learnt that a gun duel ensued between the armed robbers and the police.
Four of the hoodlums were eventually arrested after the gun battle while two others escaped.
The spokesman for the Enugu State Police Command, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu, who confirmed the development, said the armed robbers sustained severe injuries in the encounter with the police.
“The suspects diverted two commuter buses believed to be coming from Lagos and heading to Otukpo in Benue State into a bush and were robbing their victims when operatives swooped on them.
“Four members of the gang were arrested after a gun duel with the operatives, but two others believed also to have been injured in the gun battle escaped with injuries.
“The arrested, injured armed robbery suspects, who gave their names as Kenneth Eze, Ojobo Ude, Emeka Eze and Sunday Ugwu, all claimed that they hail from Obollo Afor in the Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State,” Amaraizu said.
The police spokesman added that three locally-made guns were recovered from the suspects, as well as nine mobile telephone sets believed to have been stolen from their owners.
Amaraizu further disclosed that the police had intensified efforts to apprehend two other members of the gang, who escaped during the gun battle.
He, however, urged members of the public to assist the police with useful information that could lead to the arrest of the hoodlums.
“Members of the public, particularly hospital operators, are to watch out for anyone with gunshot wounds and report promptly to any nearby police station for prompt action,” Amaraizu said. (Punch)
Palliative repair work on the runway of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, started on Thursday, 14 December, 2017. This caused some excitement in aviation sector, but not without criticism about its intention to carry out such works now, the busiest period of year.
Air Peace, a major carrier on the route has commended the Federal Government for the work.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigerian (FAAN) had begun work on the runway with the first phase scheduled from December 14 to 21. This was written ont he website of FAAN.
Spokeswoman for FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu in a statement on Thursday announced the decision of the agency to commence a “palliative repair” on the runway of the airport which airline owners have repeatedly complained as posing a threat to the takeoff and landing of aircraft.
Mr Henrietta Yakubu said during the repair of the runway, the airport would operate at half its capacity as flights would only be allowed into the airport between 7am and 3pm.
But the stakeholders who are members of the Aviation Round Table (ART) have expressed worry on the timing of the shutdown of the airport for repair (the Yuletide season where traffic is at its peak) and they also faulted the decision to do a palliative work and not a total maintenance of the runway.
FAAN was also criticised for failing to disclose how much it was investing the palliative repair of the Enugu airport runway.
It could be recalled that the Senate Committee on Aviation had a tour of the airport and lamented bitterly about the poor state of he airport. The Senate committee recommended that the airport must be repaired and brought to the same standard of an international airport as found in other climes.
So, it should be recommended that the government listened to the recommendations by the Senate and ordered for the palliative repair works.
This move could not go without sharp criticism from citizens of the region, who condemned the timing of the repair works.
Some South East citizens have complained that the closure during the high season, when many sons and daughters of the region make the yearly holiday home-coming is conspiracy to take the economic benefits away from South East.
One critic, Mr Joseph Ikunna wrote on his Facebook wall, ” it is self-explanatory that it is intended to rob the region of the taxes to be paid to the airport”. He also said that it is also very painful and financially burdensome for South Easterners and others to use Lagos or other airports and make the tedious and dangerous journey home via the road.
It is very obvious that the police and army check points on the roads increase as one approaches the region of South East. And it has been lamented by Ohanaeze President General, Chief Nnia Nwodo that these checkpoints are merely used to extort money from passengers and vehicle owners from the region in a very shameless manner in broad day light.
So, Mr Ikunna has some reason to nurture such suspicions and fear for the safety and extortion of South Eastern road users by the men in uniform on our roads.
But aviation analysts, John Ojikutu and Olu Ohunayo who are also top executives of the Aviation Round Table (ART) told journalists that the palliative repair was a waste of scare resources.
“The palliative repairs can only sustain the landing of Boeing 737 aircraft weight and not for the landing of bigger aircraft that foreign airlines who are flying into the airport use,” said Ojikutu.
“If FAAN does not want to continue to waste its scarce fund on the runway, or cause a disaster in the airport, it should prevail on the political interests that opened the airport to international flights to allow runway to be closed for a complete reconstruction and upgrade its load classification number (LCN) from 50 to at least 80 if not 100. A word is enough for the wise,” Ojikutu added.
“Before the rushed designation of the airport for international flight was implemented, was the strength of the runway not factored in the process?” queried Ohunayo.