ODOGWU EMEKA ODOGWU writes that tension is still palpable in Uruaguma Obiofia village in Nza Ozubulu community, Ekwusigo council area of Anambra State over the activities of one Ms Millicent Ikeotuonye who allegedly covets taking over their communal land.
On this the villagers have protested the alleged encroachment into their land and subsequent molestation and arrest of some of them by the said Ms Millicent Ikeotuonye, allegedly a staff of the Federal Ministry of Budget and Planning Abuja.
The protesters armed with placards with various inscriptions besieged the Area Command office of the state police command to register their displeasure over their alleged intimidation and harassment by thugs and policemen hired by Millicent over the matter.
Leader of the protesters, Mr Vincent Ikebudu, told www.odogwublog.com that the accused person went beyond the boundary of the portion of land allocated to her father, Late Hon Vincent Ikeotuonye, in 1956 to build a secondary school.
Ikeotuonye is from Nnebigbo, Nza Ozubulu community. The school was built in Uruaguma Obiofia village in Nza Ozubulu community in 1957, a year after the land was given with clear traditional demarcations and they never had issues with late Hon Ikeotuonye.
Ikebudu, who is the secretary of the community, said that although the school known as Zixton Secondary School has been taken over by the state government and fenced, the accused person was allegedly using her contacts and connections to intimidate the villagers over a portion that’s not theirs outside the fence of the school.
He asked Millicent Ikeotuonye to give peace a chance as the village has no strength and need to make any case with her over the land , pleading with her to allow the community rest by using her contacts better rather than for trouble.
Ikebudu said: “Recently, the daughter started encroaching beyond the portion that the community allotted to her father for the school. She has gone to the extent of terrorizing our women who farm on the portion of land that was left”, he alleged.
The protesters said two women have been beaten by thugs Ikeotuonye allegedly hired and that she has used police team from the Inspector General of Police’s monitoring team to harass and bully them at will even arresting the chairman of the village, Chief Titus Okonkwo. He said further that the lives of women and elderly men in the village are in danger sequel to activities of the thugs, and police officers laying siege their community.
But the accused person, Ms Millicent Ikeotuonye, while reacting dismissed the allegations, describing them as untrue.
She informed that the case was already with the police as she was heading to Awka police station and that the case would be charged to court the next day.
She insisted that the disputed land belonged to her late father and that the villagers encroached into it not long after her dad passed on. Though she relied from a source inside her vehicle in answering the questions thrown to her, she could not answer the reasons she was encroaching on a land outside the school premises since her late father’s school taken over by government has been fenced. She promised to get back to our correspondent but never did.
At the police Area Command Awka , the female officer probably in charge of the case who addressed them assured them that justice would be served as the invitation to them wasn’t for a protest but to hear their own side of the story before taking a stand as the police wont resolve the case from just one person’s point of view. She encouraged them to return to where they began the protest and select three of four people who were conversant with the land matter to come and brief the police, which they complied with.