I’m Not Into Land-Grabbing, Intimidation Of Natives, Says Enugu Traditional Ruler, Igwe Ikenga

By Tony Adibe

The Traditional Ruler of Obeagu Ugwuaji Autonomous Community  in Enugu South Council area of Enugu State, His Royal Highness,  Igwe Christopher Ikenga, and members of his Cabinet, have dismissed the allegation of misconduct, land-grabbing, and intimidation of the  natives, insisting that the accusations were campaign of calumny meant to smear his image, his cabinet and that of his son, Tochukwu Ikenga.

The Royal father said that there has never been a time either him, his cabinet members, or his son, Tochukwu Ikenga attempted to intimidate or harass any one or group of people in order to grab any land from any village or community.

Igwe Ikenga explained that the false accusations coming from certain people of Isiagu Village, Ugwuaji Awkunanaw in Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State made against him and his son, Tochukwu Ikenga, were a “calculated attempt by the accusers to drag the image of his respected family to the mud.”

NewsBits recalls that a group of concerned Villagers, had petitioned Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the State Traditional Rulers Council, and the Police Service Commission (PSC) over what they regarded as alleged “encroachment, malicious damage and conduct likely to cause breach of peace in their locality by Igwe Christopher Ikenga and his son, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga.”

In a petition signed by chairman and Secretary of the Ishiagu General Assembly, Okwudiri Ani and Joe Onu and five others respectively, the community claimed that the Royal father, has made it a norm to allegedly brazenly, and forcibly enter into, cease, parcellate, and allegedly sell several portions of their ancestral land, which they inherited from their forefathers, among other accusations.

However, in his reaction to the allegations, Igwe Ikenga described the petitioners as “imposters, blackmailers, evil doers, and land grabbers” who want to tarnish his good image and reputation, as well as that of his Son, Tochukwu Ikenga, “just out of envy!”

Igwe Ikenga reacted while speaking with journalists   at his palace in the presence of some of his key cabinet members including his Traditional Prime Minister (Onowu) during the weekend.

The Royal father said the action of “the blackmailers” was a deliberate and calculated attempt to drag his name and that of his family to the mud in a matter they know nothing about. Igwe Ikenga, who confessed that he felt embarrassed about the entire development, however, recalled vividly how his people unanimously maintained that he must ascend the throne after the creation of the Autonomous Community. He emphasised that “all these attacks and assassination of my character, and that of my son is just out of envy and jealousy.”

Igwe Ikenga stressed that there is no atom of truth in the said petition, as all lands belonging to all the concerned six Communities before the creation of his own Autonomous Community had in the past been demarcated and Gazetted by the Enugu State Government through the State Boundary Commission situated at the Deputy Governor’s office.

He went on to   explain that the demarcation of the boundaries of the lands belonging to the six Communities that make up the locality ab initio commenced in 2008 and ended in 2015. He further explained that after the exercise it was judiciously shared between his own two communities and the other four by the state government.

 He recalled that the latest development was not the first time similar “malicious and wicked petition” is being raised against him by those he referred to as “evil doers and enemies of progress who have remained a cog in the wheel of progress of their communities.”

Igwe Ikenga also reminded the newsmen that there had been an assassination attempt on his life in the past, although he did not pinpoint any one or group as being behind it. According to him, all the necessary documents including the Survey plan and Gazette that was used and produced by government concerning the lands could be assessed and verified at relevant government quarters. 

Igwe Ikenga, emphasised that his son, Tochukwu Ikenga, a Senior police officer, whose name was mentioned in the said petition, “does not know anything concerning the Community affairs, talkless of land matters, as he serves outside the state,” stressing that “he is not conversant with goings in the locality.”

He said: “Tochukwu my son, has not been to this Community for a very long time, more than one year now, so, I wonder why these land grabbers’ are calling his name in that their evil petitions.”

The Royal father said: “So gentlemen of the press, what am telling you in a nutshell is that there is no iota of truth in what they are saying through their wicked petition which holds no water. They just want to blackmail me and my son for something we know nothing about.

“As Journalists, you can even apply for the documents at the government press department through the state Deputy Governor’s office, and you will see who is saying the truth, and who is lying. The petitioners are bunch of land grabbers, who do not wish their communities well.”

Corroborating what Igwe Ikenga said, Chief Emeka Ani, a native of Isiagu Village, Ugwuaji  Awkunanaw who came to the palace during the  media interaction, said he is the incumbent Chairman of the area. He described signatories to the petition as “imposters, and criminals, roaring like lion looking for whom to devour.”

Chief Ani, accused the petitioners of always illegally selling community lands, calling on security agencies, especially the police to investigate their activities in the locality and bring them to justice if found wanting.

Ani, however, advised members of the public, governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Police Service Commission PSC, the State Traditional Rulers Council as well as other bodies to ignore the petition as it “emanated from imposters and enemies of our Community”.

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