BY SUNNY DAVID
The People of Ezelle Mbana village in Oba, Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State have called on the state government and other relevant authorities, to come to their aid, following widespread abductions, maiming, intimidation, harassment and destruction of property worth hundreds of millions of Naira by people suspected to have come from neighbouring Isu Umuezegbute village of the same Oba town.
Speaking to newsmen on Saturday at Oba, one of the men whose dwelling house was reduced to rubble, Mr. Christian Enendu, said their neighbours from Isu Umezegbute invaded their village with bulldozers, earth-moving equipment, heavily-armed policemen and thugs, in the early hours of Monday, 3rd August, 2020, and demolished a number of houses, without warning, after shooting sporadically into the air and wounding some women and children.
Mr. Enendu, who narrated their ordeal, said the people of Ezelle Mbana village had existed for more than 200 years on the disputed land, until recently when their neighbours from Isu Umuezegbute started laying claims to it and the matter was taken to court.
Another victim, Mr. Ikechukwu Onyebuchi, aged 49 years, who showed machete wounds inflicted on him by the rampaging hoodlums, said his ancestors had lived on the land for hundreds of years, adding that he was aware the land under dispute was jointly owned by the three villages that make up Isu Akanator but was finally given to them as settlement after a blood covenant in the early 1990s.
He said he and other victims had been rendered homeless and called on the government to come to their aid and arrest the suspects, whom he said are all known to them.
Also speaking to newsmen, Mrs. Omelogo Mmaduemezia, said her husband, who was abducted a week ago, alongside other prominent indigenes of the community during the onset of the rampage, has not been found, and his two phones are currently switched off. She said their home was reduced to rubble with bulldozers and earth-moving equipment.
When contacted, a legal practitioner representing Ezelle Mbana village, Chief John O. Nso, said the community instituted an action against their neighbors, Isu Village in 1999, but a section of the village, known as Umuezegwute filed a counter-claim, arguing that the entire land belonged to them solely, and not a communal land of the whole Isu Village.
According to him, people of Ezelle Mbana lost the case recently, but filed an appeal and a motion for stay of execution, but Umuezegwute community ignored the notice of appeal and stay of execution and further proceeded to demolish and forcefully take possession, even in an illegal and criminal manner.
Chief Nso therefore prayed for the intervention of government, the Police and other law enforcement agencies in bringing the perpetrators to justice and averting further destruction of lives and property of Ezelle Mbana village of Oba.
All efforts to speak with the Chairman of Umuezegbute village, simply identified as Mr. Ajumora, proved abortive, as he was said to be out of town, and nobody could provide his phone number.