How Isiagu, Anambra community Land cartel cheated me of life benefits — Emeritus Prof Nwabueze

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Emeritus Professor of Theater & Film Studies, Patrick Emeka Nwabueze has opened up on how a land grabbing cabal in Isiagu, Awka South local government area of Anambra State connived to extort over N14 million, being money from his gratuity after his retirement from the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN).

Nwabueze said that his persecution in the hands of the Isiagu Community land cabal started with one Mrs. Teresa Beauty Dagga-Nweze who was introduced to him by a friend as a land agent.

The Playwright, author, and dramatist said that people who know him as a very meticulous person have been wondering how he fell for the fraudsters and was defrauded at Isiagu for over four years. He said that he has to tell his pathetic story to prevent others from erroneously dabbling into such a situation.

He described as false the claim by one of the community leaders that his tragedy was not an Isiagu Community affairs but a deal between him and the notorious Nwangelekwe Nwosu family, noting that what started as an innocent land deal later escalated into a problem that enveloped the whole sleepy town of Isiagu.

Nwabueze said, “I was lured into the purchase by one Mrs. Teresa Beauty Dagga-Nweze, an Ezeagu born Land Agent married to Chief Dagga Nweze of Umuduika village in Awka. She learnt of my interest through my childhood friend, Emma Nwimo, a Port Harcourt asked businessman. I sent friends to see the land, and they returned a favourable verdict as both the seller, Christian Chukwuma Nwosu, popularly known as Ozonnia, and the Agent, Mrs. Dagga-Nweze, swore with their lives regarding the ownership of the land.

“To be sure, further investigation was made to the town’s Land Committee constituted by the town’s monarch, Chief Augustine Nwankwo, Onwa Isiagu. They also affirmed authenticity, and the deal was concluded, paid for, and signed accordingly. The Chairman of the town’s land committee, Sunday Ozumba was a signatory.

“It was after this that my torture started. When I went to fence the property, a group of people watched us and smiled in derision, and at night, the whole work was viciously destroyed and the working implements carted away.

“I took the case to the town’s land committee domiciled at Igwe’s palace and made the report. After deliberation they now said that out of the seven plots I purchased, two plots belonged to another person, that I should either settle that person, or ask the dreaded Ozonnia to give two other plots from elsewhere. I contacted Ozonnia and Mrs. Dagga-Nweze and they asked me to exercise patience.

“Not smelling a rat I went ahead and surveyed the five plots and registered it with Anambra State Ministry of Lands. I waited to no avail for the outstanding two plots. I went to work on the five plots and encountered another round of opposition and destruction. I confronted Ozonnia and his accomplice, Mrs. Dagga Nweze, and they once again swore ownership, with Dagga-Nweze swearing fervently that she was very sure that Ozonnia and his family owned the property.

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“I took the matter again to the Land Committee to re-examine ownership and save me from confrontation and waste of funds. They affirmed ownership, gave me a certificate of authentication from the Igwe’s palace, and commanded me to deal ruthlessly with anybody that comes to disturb me. I enquired of the outstanding two plots and they assured me on their honour, that it will be provided by Ozonnia.

“Emboldened by the assurance from the Igwe’s Land Committee domiciled in his palace, I announced that I will start and complete the work on January 5 2024. I mobilised enormous labour, got nearly a thousand blocks and necessary implements for the job.

“Before we arrived Isiagu, a mob of about one hundred individuals were waiting for us. It was an event that nearly led to fatality. They descended on us and assaulted the labourers, and warned me that they were kind to me as a senior citizen. I boasted that I had a certificate of authentication and minutes from Igwe’s palace.

“They laughed at me and openly called the Igwe a rogue before Ozonnia, and advised me to go and collect back my money, that they are tired of being persecuted by a cabal that are greedy land grabbers. I called Ozonnia to my car for deliberation, and they surrounded my car, shouting unprintable abused at Ozonnia calling him a rogue used by the cabal to grab people’s land and sell them to unsuspecting non-natives who would then proceed to fight the actual owners and sometimes defeat them because of their impecuniosity and take their ancestral lands. I decided not to be such a tool, and reported the matter to the Nigeria Police, Zone 13. I lost nearly a thousand blocks, trips of sand and chippings.”

Nwabueze said that to be fare, the Nigeria Police, Zone 13 in Ukpo Anambra State has been quite excellent and professional, from the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) to the Investigating Police Officer (IPO).

“The Police were significantly honest, empathic, yet firm and objective. The Inspector General of Police needs to be aware of this zone and mark it out for an award for promoting the positive image of the force,” he recommended.

Continuing the narration of his ordeal, Nwabueze said that it was after the police intervention that the the real behaviour of the culprits emerged.

“Their degree of mendacity and criminal inclinations are beyond reality, especially Ozonnia, Mrs. Beauty Dagga-Nweze and Ozonnia’s younger brother, Chekwube Okechukwu Nwandelekwe-Nwosu, also known as Okechukwu Emmanuel on whose account these monies are paid and who is still running away from the police.

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“Since he disappeared from the town which natives suspect is surreptitiously aided, neither the Igwe nor Ozonnia had assidted in making him available to the law to show his bank statements and reveal the degree of movement of cash from and into that account. It was from that account that Mrs. Beauty Dagga-Nweze was paid the sum of N3.5 million which she added to the cost of the land with the connivance of her accomplice, Ozonnia.

“The case got to it’s apogee when the claimant, Akunedu, invited a dreaded oracle and dared Ozonnia and his cohorts to swear ownership. They instantly disappeared. As a peaceful person, I demanded to be given an alternative land to end the case, but Ozonnia bluntly refused.

“In fact, when I spoke to Igwe Augustine Nwankwo, Onwa Isiagu, I expected him to make such an offer to save the image of his community, but he did not. He was probably waiting for Ozonnia’s counsel.

“I say this because Ozonnia claims that the Igwe is an absentee monarch and depends on him and some willing individuals as de facto dispensers of administration and justice in Isiagu, with Ozonnia as the Capone. As Capone Ozonnia assumes the mendacious image of a village champion because of his skill in using seemingly amoral land agents like Mrs. Beauty Dagga-Nweze to attract unsuspecting prospective land buyers to him to be financially ravished with criminal impunity.

“The importance of Ozonnia in the Isiagu community is unprecedented. For instance, when an Isiagu man became in charge of Awka South Local Government council, the first thing he did was to bring Ozonnia to his chest by making him the councillor in charge of Isiagu ward, to the dismay of all and sundry. It is not difficult to puzzle out why.

“You can see that no one can say, with honesty, that this case is a private land deal with the Nwandelekwe Nwosu family. How can a person go to the Igwe’s palace to obtain information on land and they gave him a nod, certified the owner, gave him a certificate of authentication, and vehemently ask him to proceed to work on the land, and when he goes to the site he will be challenged and assaulted by a crowd of people. And the Igwe and the committee will maintain convenient silence?

“The committee met on the matter twice and on each meeting they will charge me the sum of twenty thousand Naira (N20,000.00), usually through Ozonnia, to obtain a two page material containing their deliberation. This is apart from the Development Levy of over half a million Naira. Still,when you go to the property you will be grossly assaulted and your working implements confiscated with impunity.

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“How can Igwe Augustine Nwankwo deny knowledge of this matter which has lasted for over four years. Even if he is an absentee monarch, as Ozonnia opined, the conflagration that took place on January 5 when we came to work on the property and which attracted most members of the community, and nearly resulted in fatality, could not have escaped the attention or knowledge of anyone that has the appellation of monarch attached to his name. One wonders if he can defend that feigned ignorance in any court of law.

“I am told there is a lawyer in the committee, unless he is intellectually inadequate he could have made it clear to them that the totality of the matter is actionable in a court of law, and I have not ruled out that option. The degree of assault, deceit, deliberate mendacity, and surreptitious connivance is beyond human imagination, and I’m sure they will not expect me to walk away from the matter without adequate compensation, especially when one considers the enormous amount of money I spent pursuing the case for over four years.

“To them it is a win-win situation. They will, as usual, hand me back my money after nearly five years, and sell the property at the prevailing cost, which is almost five times what I paid for the property in 2020, and continue to smile to the bank without giving me adequate compensation. I hope potential attorneys are listening!

“Threatening me with anonymous phone calls to drop the matter, which is happening now, will not deter me. It will only excercerbate it. Believe me, sincerely.”

When contacted, the traditional ruler of Isiagu Community, HRH Igwe Augustine Nwankwo said that he was not previously away of the matter, but a few days ago.

“I’m in Lagos, I live in Lagos so I don’t know about this matter actually. It was the PRO that called me and I didn’t have the Man’s phone number but I was very angry about it. I don’t know much about it, it’s the land committee that knows but they must resolve it,” the monarch said.

The Community’s Chairman of Land committee, Chief Sunday Ozumba said that it was not an entire Community issue but a personal deal which he said was being sorted out, internally.

“This is not an Isiagu affairs, it’s an individual, family affair versus Professor Nwabueze. The matter is being handled internally, no cause for alarm. It’s not members of the community, I’ve told you that the matter is being handled internally, just take it like that,” Ozumba said.

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