Alleged ‘RUGA’: Enugu Farmer Petitions Police Over False Alarm On Agric PPP With Government

An Enugu-born commercial farmer, Ahmad Sani Ibrahim, formerly known as Friday Nnaji, has petitioned the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 13, raising the alarm over alleged criminal defamation and attempts by some persons to misrepresent his farming partnership with the Enugu State Government.

He called on the law enforcement agency to investigate the matter in order to avoid breach of peace. Mr. Ibrahim accused two indigenes of Isi-Uzo LGA, Mr. Simon Ede and Engr. Samuel Ugwuede of falsely relying on a purported search at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to present the agricultural venture with the state government as a front by some northern elements to acquire vast lands in Isi-Uzo for sinister purposes.

The high-profile farmer, who said that he converted to Islam in 1998, also clarified that shareholders and directors of the company, who bear Muslim names were not northerners as published by Samuel Ugwuede and Simon Ede, but his wives and children. He also explained that the venture was for crop production, not ranching and further accused the duo of Ugwuede and Ede of cyberstalking, racist and xenophobic publications against his person, and Ugwu Anama Farms, as well as a deliberate attempt to cause a breach of peace in Isi-Uzo and the state in general.

In the petition dated April 11, 2024, and accompanied with an old affidavit of change of name and the newspaper publication to that effect, the petitioner wrote: “I am a Muslim by faith and religion. I am an indigene of Ugwu Anama, Mbu in Isi-Uzo LGA of Enugu State. My native name is Friday Nnaji. After I converted to the Islamic religion and faith in 1998, I started bearing Ahmed Sani Ibrahim as my Islamic name.

“I am the promoter and majority shareholder of Ugwu Anama Farm Ltd. The other shareholders of the company are: Ibrahim Hassan, my Islamic adopted son, and also a director of the company; Layusat Shehu Jibril, one of my wives and a director of the company; Zainab Sani Ahmad, one of my wives; Mariyam Said, my Islamic adopted daughter, and Ahmad Sani Ibrahim, my biological son.

“While Engr. Samuel Chimaobi Ugwuede is from the same Mbu community as I, Mr Ede Simon Onyema is from Eha-Amufu, another community in my Isi-Uzo LGA. Both of them know me very well. In a bid to unlock the economic and social potentials of the state, the company and Enugu State Government, in March, 2024, entered into a Public Private Partnership Agreement (PPPA) wherein it was agreed, among other things, that the state will provide the company with 15,000 hectares of farmlands in Isi-Uzo Local Government Area of the State for the cultivation of cassava, rice, maize, high-yielding premium banana and yam.

“Having learnt about the above relationship between the state and the company, the duo of Engr. Samuel Chimaobi Ugwuede and Mr. Ede Simon Onyema maliciously, between March and April, 2024, made defamatory, offensive, ethnocentric, racist and xenophobic publications against the petitioners (shareholders and directors) on the WhatsApp group chat called “Isi Uzo News”, with intent to deliberately provoke breach of peace by offensive publication; cause criminal defamation, cyber stalking; and cause racist and xenophobic disaffection against the petitioners, by portraying the shareholders and directors of the company as Northern elements who are hiding under the cover of the company to acquire large expanse of Igbo land belonging to the Eha-Amufu people of Isi-Uzo LGA of Enugu State for sinister purposes.”

Attaching copies of the alleged offensive publications entitled “Unmasking those Behind Ugwu Anama Farm Ltd” and “Eha-Amufu Land: Hand of Esau and Voice of Jacob,” the farmer wrote, “Under the laws of Nigeria, every Nigerian has the right to acquire moveable and immovable properties, reside in and do legitimate business in any part of Nigeria, irrespective of religious or ethnic background and affiliation.

“Therefore, one being of another faith is not a barrier to acquiring land or doing business of any nature in Enugu State. Moreover, the duo of Engr. Samuel Chimaobi Ugwuede and Mr Ede Simon Onyema are enlightened and well aware of this fact, but deliberately and maliciously chose to make the said offensive publications against us with the ultimate intent of spreading hate and ultimately undermining the said project between the Enugu State Government and the company.

“The offensive publications are clearly intended to spread ethnic hatred against the shareholders and directors and endanger our lives, safety, properties and business interests in Eha-Amufu, Isi-Uzo LGA and Enugu State at large.”

The company, therefore, requested the Police AIG to use his “good office to investigate this complaint and bring the culprits to book if found culpable.” Meanwhile, Ibrahim-Nnaji is a commercial farmer involved in large-scale crop production in Isi-Uzo and other parts of the country over the years.

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