Ukpo Community Mourns Victim Of August 19 Attack, Commiserates With Police | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Ukpo Community Mourns Victim Of August 19 Attack, Commiserates With Police

Ukpo Community
Posted: Sep 6, 2016 at 5:09 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

* Community Insists Abagana’s Attack Is Terrorism

Chukwujekwu Ilozue

Awka – Ukpo community in Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State, invaded by neighbouring Abagana community on August 19, has begun mourning of Emmanuel Chigozie Okafor, one of its sons, killed during the invasion.

The community has also commiserated with the Nigeria Police whose four officers were wounded, some critically, on the night Abagana people attacked the community at by 1 a.m. “in a terrorist manner.”

Giving their own side of the story in a press conference Tuesday, Igwe Robert Eze, Okofia VI, the traditional ruler of Ukpo, and Group Captain Benson Okoye (rtd), the President General, leading members of the monarch’s cabinet said the land, which was invaded by Abagana people on Augut 19, 2016, legitimately belongs to Ukpo.

Igwe Eze told journalists that Ukpo and Nri were the owners of the area and that other communities came later as settlers.

Even at that, he continued, Ukpo’s progenitors made boundaries with Abagana people and when later generation of Abagana disputed the boundaries and went to court, they lost the case.

He said he was aware that the land in question was not disputed by the whole of Abagana people but particular war-like settlers known as Orofia which has been a thorn in the flesh of its neighbours.

“It is Abagana Orofia that has been causing trouble in this area, taking people’s land by force and by trick,” Igwe Eze said.

Elaborating on the issue, Group Capt. Okoye (rtd.) said that on November 16, 2011, Ukpo community got a perpetual injunction restraining Abagana people from further trespass on the parcel of land delineated in plan Number MU/D6/96 which belongs to Ukpo. That was after 21 years of litigation on the land matter, he added.

He said that even when Abagana community appealed against the judgment in suit No. CA/E/86/M/12, the appeal was struck out for want of prosecution by Hon. Justice AJ Abdul-kadir of the Appeal Court, Enugu division.

Okoye said that twice, Abagana major stakeholders had come to Ukpo for settlement out of court and for that number of times, the settlement failed because the said Abagana people had insisted that the land be shared into two halves, a request Ukpo people turned down.

He regretted that despite knowing that the land does not belong to them, Abagana people had staged several violent attacks on peace-loving Ukpo people including the last one of August 19, “during which Ukpo was attacked in a terrorist  manner by Abagana people and some mercenaries with AK-47 riffles, bombs, dynamites and other deadly weapons resulting to the losses.”

He said that Ukpo being peace-loving and given the pedigree of its leaders had always followed due process of the rule of law in tackling matters.

Chief I.M. Anah, Ukpo’s lawyer, blamed the Abagana attack on influence of men of sudden wealth in the community.

Abagana community had alleged that influential men from Ukpo bought the State Commissioner of Police over to arrest their illustrious sons over the attack but Ukpo community denied that on Tuesday.

Chief Anah in his submission said, “To show that COMPOL Samuel Okaula is merely interested in meeting the justice of the case, he has even charged some of the culprits with others at large to court in Charge Number MCU/43c/2016.”