By Tony Adibe
The people of Ishiagu Village, Ugwuaji Awkunanaw in Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State, have cried out and petitioned Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the State Traditional Rulers Council, and the Police Service Commission (PSC) concerning the purported criminal encroachment, malicious damage and conduct likely to cause breach of peace in the locality.
Also, the natives have fingered the traditional ruler of Obeagu Ugwuaji Community, 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 respectively, the community claimed that the traditional ruler has “made it a norm to brazenly and forcibly enter into, cease, parcellate and allegedly sell several portions of their ancestral land inherited from their forefathers.”
The people further stated that the portions have been in “unperturbed and unchallenged possession for centuries and generations”, stressing that some of them resisted the alleged criminal encroachment and insisted “that Ishiagu Community is not in Obeagu Ugwuaji and as such Igwe Ikenga has no jurisdiction over its land neither are the good people of Ishiagu his subjects.”
According to the natives, the traditional ruler was provoked by their resistance and purportedly deployed his son who is a Deputy Superintendent of Police against them and “entered into and ceased total control of their ancestral lands.”
Ani and Onu said: “For avoindance of doubt and sake of clarity, the border between Ishiagu and Obeagu Communities have been delineated since time immemorial and have been respected conventionally for hundreds of years before the reign of his Royal Highness who is now hell-bound on forceful expropriation of our land for no just cause.
“Deputy Superintendent of Police, Tochukwu Ikenga acting on his father’s instructions has resorted to using the otherwise good office of the Nigerian Police to perpetrate his father’s clandestine and obnoxious Agenda.
“DSP Tochukwu Ikenga has been personally threatening members of the Ishiagu Community as randomly as possible at his whims and caprices including but not limited to the undersigned as a result of which the entire community currently live in fear and majority no longer sleep at home for fear of Igwe Christopher Ikenga and his son Tochukwu who sometimes invite some section of the police force to Ishiagu Community who come on a shooting spray, scaring both old and young women, aged fathers and youths scampering for their lives.”
In the petition, which was also jointly signed by Chief Solomon Ugwu, Chief Okafor Ugwu, Mr. Faith Ani, Sunday Edeh, the people further alleged that “DSP Tochukwu has arrested, detained, tortured and injured numerous indigenes of Ishiagu Ugwuaji community for daring to question his right audacity and jurisdiction in lording it over the peaceful people of Ishiagu Community who are not his subjects.”
The indigenes also claimed that “On several occasions, Igwe Christopher Ikenga has openly bragged that he sent his son Tochukwu to school and ensure he got employed by the Nigerian police solely for the purpose of intimidating, harassing and subjugation of his enemies.”
“On his part, DSP, Tochukwu Ikenga has also openly boasted to use his connection in and around the apparatus of the Nigerian Police Force to deal ruthlessly with any member of Ishiagu Community who dares stand on his father’s way in the forcible acquisition of Ishiagu Ugwuaji lands aforelisted.”
Making a passionate appeal to the concerned authorities, the worried people also said: “By this medium, we are calling on His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Enugu State, the Chairman, Enugu Council of Traditional Rulers, the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the general public to intervene in this imbroglio and save the souls of Ishiagu Ugwuaji Community.”
“To call on His Royal Highness Igwe Christopher Ikenga and son to order so as to forestall a possible complete break down of fragile peace occasioned by the aggressive and provocative actions of the duo.”