By Izunna Okafor, Awka
The Anambra State Police Command has pledged to intervene to bring an immediate and lasting end to the land grabbing crisis rocking the Nimo Community in Njikoka Local Government Area of the State.
The State Deputy Commissioner of Police in-charge of operation, DCP Ibrahim Ezekiel, disclosed this while addressing about 800 Nimo women who stormed the State Police Command Headquarters Amawbia, on Friday, in protest, seeking for justice.
It was gathered that the community seems to be currently divided over a land the women claims to have been fraudulently taken-over by the Traditional Ruler of the community, Igwe Maxi Ike IlAobi, the President General of the town, Mr. Ekenenna Okafor-Omabor and some members of the Igwe’s cabinet.
Speaking further on the development, the DCP while thanking the women who appears in black attires for conducting themselves in a peaceful manner, assured that the Command under CP Adeoye Aderemi will wade into the crisis to resolve it once and for all.
He said, “We will wade into the land and other leadership crisis currently rocking the community to see how we can help resolve the unrest once and for all. Justice will take it course. You will have your peace by the grace of God. You will cry no more.”
“The Command will invite you and other faction for mediation in no distance time,” he noted.
Speaking with journalists shortly after submitting their protest letter to the Police authority, Mrs. Ebele Okochi, who spoke on behalf of the women, said they were at the Command Headquarters to seek protection from the Nigeria Police as they could no longer sleep in their houses with their two eyes closed, for the fear of the unknown.
According to Mrs. Okochi, the community is presently embroiled in crisis. She said the cause of the crisis was multifaceted, but stemmed largely from administrative incompetence of the President General, Mr. Ekenenna Okafor-Omabor; sale of Nimo land by the PG and the Traditioner ruler, Igwe Iliobi; high-handedness and trampling upon the fundamental right of the town’s folks, among several others.
“Our people are being arrested and tortured on daily basis while in handcuffs.
“Vigilante operatives are used as a private army of the Igwe to harass, and seize properties of individual. Our people are being arrested for the flimsiest excuses and handed over to the police where they spend money to bail themselves.
“The Igwe purportedly negotiated with our neighbouring town of Eziowelle Community and ceded about 264 plots of land owned by individuals without the consent and knowledge of the land owners. The Igwe did this because he believes that as the Igwe, he can take over people’s land and do whatever he pleases with it. This to our view, is high-handedness and an abuse of trust by the Monarch.
“As a result of the illegal land transactions, the youths of Nimo Community whose families depend on these lands for their survival and sustenance are highly provoked. This has largely been the cause of the crisis in Nimo, which has not abated since January 2023.
“The crisis is getting worse because rather than retrace their steps and stop selling of the land, both the PG and Igwe have resorted to writing frivolous petitions against those who opposed sales of the land. They frame people as kidnappers, cultists, arsonist, confusionist, etc.
“We no longer go to the farm because all boundary lands have been sold off. The little farm lands where we are farming, the Igwe and his faction have forcefully collected them from. We are no longer allowed to go to our farms. This year, we did not get corn, cassava, palm oil because he has seize all the community land to himself. That man (Igwe) has sold more than 200 plots land at the rate of 3.1 million each.
“To further consolidate their sales of the land, the PG issues a written public notice to the effect that people are not allowed to go to their farms. The directive, which seeks to stop farming activities is a breach of people fundamental human rights. Sir, if we continue to tell you what has been happening in Nimo in the past three years, you will think that we are telling fairy stories from some strange story books, yet the atrocities and impunity by the leadership of Nimo don’t seem to get better as the days go by.
“No individual has the right and power to claim ownership of such asset because he is the Traditional Ruler of such asset because he is the Traditional Ruler of the town.
“We want the Police to stop coming to Nimo to arrest our innocent people. Let us have peace in Nimo.
“It is because of the above, among several others, that we plead that you use your good office to wade in and stop the Igwe of Nimo, HRH Maxi Ike Iliobi, and the PG, Mr. Ekenenna Okafor-Omabor from further throwing Nimo Community into avoidable crisis.”
The protesters were seen wielding placards with various inscription, such as “Soludo Nimo Needs Your Help Please Save Us”, “All Manner of Impunity Must Stop in Nimo”, “Igwe, PG and Nimo Royal Cabinet Have No Respect for Nimo Constitution”, “Igwe Maxi Ike Iliobi is Bastardizing Nimo Culture and Traditions”, “Nimo PG is Incapacitated by the Igwe Nimo”, “Nigeria Police Anambra Command Please Give Us Justice”, “Save Our Souls, Governor Soludo”, among others.