Angry youths attack residents over alleged invasion into ancestral land

Residents of Enu-Ifite in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State have cried out to Governor Willie Obiano and the security agencies in the state, to save them from further harassment, molestation and destruction of their properties by a youth organization in the area, known as Ifite Awka Integrated.

According to a community leader in the area who spoke to News Echo on the condition of anonymity, said the youths numbering about fifty in company of some masquerades invaded the area and destroyed about ten residential houses, business premises including, a church and other properties estimated at millions of naira.

The community leader alleged that the group of youths who were armed with matches, sticks and gun shot sporadically into the air and ordered occupants to leave the area, which they said was the ancestral home of Imo Awka a popular deity in Awka land or risk losing their lives.

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He said the group, allegedly led by one Amos Okafor (A.K.A Agidi), was not registered and hence not known in the community.

The community leader maintained that the disputed area was legitimately acquired by the occupants and did not belong to the Imo Awka Shrine contrary to what the group claimed.

He said that the development had been reported to elders of Ifite Community, Police B Division Awka and Zone 13 of the Nigeria Police Force, Ukpo, in which the police has promised to arrest the perpetrators.

Also narrating their ordeal, the Assistant Pastor of Kings International Rescue Mission Church, which was destroyed by the mob, Pastor Uche Ogbonna said the youths swooped on them on Saturday 28 March, while they were holding a programme in the church.

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He alleged that they disrupted their programme and destroyed church building, pulpit and carted away musical equipment and chairs worth about five million naira.

Pastor Ogbonna said that they leased the premises about four years ago and called on the State Government and law enforcement agencies to come to their rescue.

Another resident in the area, who did not want to be mentioned in the print for fear of the unknown, narrated that after the destruction has been concluded, the attackers told them that the area in contention belongs to Imo-Awka deity and their aim is to revive the potentiality of the deity.

They said that the shrine has been abandoned for 30 years now after the demise of the Priest, and that they want to revive it so that they can return to their ancestral worship.

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“We no longer sleep with our two eyes closed. We are appealing to the relevant authorities to come to our aid by providing us an Internally Displaced Persons Camp (IDP Camp) for us to stay until the issue is resolved”, he stated.

Other properties destroyed by the mob include constructed container shops and youth acquisition centre build to trained and empowered youth in the area.

The State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ikenganya Tochukwu, when contracted via WhatsApp chart, said he was yet to receive details about the incident, while promising to issue a statement on the attacks, as soon as he gets proper information.

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