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Protests Rock Anambra Community Over Alleged Land Encroachment

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Protesters

By Chuks Eke*

The people of Umuenu village, Umuawulu community in Awka South Local Government Area, Anambra state, staged a peaceful protest against illegal encroachment into their ancestral land, Agu Udo/Agu Ofu, by a neighbouring village, Abo Ani, in Orunba North Local Government Area, hometowm of Chief Ernest Ezeajughi, Chief of Staff to Governor Chukwuma Soludo.

Protesters accuse Ezeajughi of using his position as Soludo’s Chief of Staff and Awgbu community indigene to influence the state boundary committee Chairman, Ifeanyichukwu Ibezim, to suppress Umuenu villagers of Umuawulu and favour Abo-Ani villagers of Awgbu.

However, in a swift response, Ezeajughi debunked the Umuenu villagers’ allegation, describing it as extremely spurious.

Ezeajughi, who denied the allegations over the phone, stated that the Deputy Governor is the Chairman of the Boundary Committee, which is responsible for investigating and resolving boundary disputes in the state.

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“I am not aware of any meeting, nor was I a member of the team that went to inspect or demarcate the disputed land between villages in Umuawulu and another village in the Awgbu community. According to Ezeajughi, only the Deputy Governor has the authority to preside over land matters brought before the Anambra State Boundary Dispute Commission.

In response, Deputy Governor Ibezim stated, “I made changes to our boundary committee”. I took the time to physically visit these disputed areas and verify all of the claims. At the very least, we would be able to see every sign of demarcation, such as trees, rivers, and landmarks that keep communities together’, the Deputy Governor said.

Ibezim stated, “In the case in question, I went there, walked for kilometres through the bush, and stood there. The two villages and a community – because it is between Enugwu village in Umuawulu, Umuenu village in Umuawulu, and Abo Ani in Awgbu, all for the case in my office, and we set a date to go there. Surprisingly, Umuenu did not show up.

“There, we did not want to make our own decision, so I called the leader of Umuawulu and the lawyer representing them, only to discover that after all of us agreed to meet there, he went back, because he was part of the decision that we would go physically there, and he told me that he decided later to go to court again.”

“I made no statements there. All I told the people present was that we had seen things and would return to make our decision. I left. Whatever they are saying is simply a result of their unwillingness to let peace reign. We have not issued an official statement or made a decision on this matter. “They should wait for my decision first.”

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“I have not made a final decision, and they are carrying placards. I simply stated that I had heard and seen the location, but had not made a decision.

When asked if the Supreme Court decision referred to by Umuenu residents favoured the village, the Deputy Governor responded, “People lay claims to all sorts of things.” Let them deliver the Supreme Court decision. You have this and that judgement; we have lawyers.”

“As the executive arm of the government, we have a statutory responsibility to protect judicial decisions. To even protect the laws enacted by the legislature because we control the means to do so.

“I do not own any land there. I do not want to have one because I am not from Umuawulu or Awgbu. So, when someone calls the Chief of Staff or anyone else, the Chief of Staff does not accompany us and is unaware that we are going there.”

“There is something called monumentation. Ask them if we have done monumentation, which is when we physically go out and use beacons to fix and establish boundaries. Let them decide whether we did that. Let them say whether I pointed to any point as the boundary.”

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“Many elders from other villages went with us and climbed the hills, but there was no single representative from Umuenu; in the meantime, you agreed to be there on a date you even set. There is so much insincerity in this land dispute. Some claim that we go out and place beacons in order to obtain lands for ourselves. I just wonder why I should do that,” said Ibezim.

Protesters held placards reading, “Governor Soludo come to our rescue, Abo Ani encroached on our land, we have supreme court judgement in our favour on the land, Deputy Governor Onyekachukwu Ibezim is biassed, Deputy Gov has been influenced by Chief of Staff who hails from Awgbu, Deputy Gov writes scripts of Chief of Staff and former director of Anambra State Boundary Commission, Chief Davidson Nkala, Soludo intervene before they take over.”

Speaking to reporters during the protest, the protesters’ spokesperson and former chairman of the Umuenu Umuawulu community, Chief Humphrey Obi, recounted how the land dispute began in the 1960s and how Umuenu won all three court cases involving the Court of Republic of Biafra, Onitsha Judicial Division, the Supreme Court of Nigeria, and others that ruled against the Abo Ani Awgbu community.

Obi specifically cited the July 5, 1967 decision of the High Court of the Republic of Biafra, Onitsha Judicial Division, presided over by Justice W. O. Egbuna in the suit filed by Jerome Okpala and Nwanaka Nwankwo for themselves and on behalf of Umuenu village, Umuawulu against Richard Onyenegbu and five others for themselves and as representing the people of Abo-Ani village, Awgbu, which gave Umuenu village victory.

In the judgement, which bears the suit number 0/41/1963, Justice Egbuna stated: “I have monitored the evidence led by the plaintiffs and I am satisfied that this Aguofu land in dispute belongs to the Umuenu people of Umuawulu and not to the defendants, Abo-Ani Awgbu.”

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The court went on to say, “I am also convinced that the plaintiffs have been farming on this land, received a judgement over it in 1928, and have continued to use the land until the defendants trespassed into it.”

He stated that, dissatisfied with the three court decisions, the Abo Ani people went to the Anambra State Boundary Commission, which was chaired by the Deputy Governor, His Excellency, Onyekachukwu Ibezim, and demanded the demarcation of the disputed land.

“At the Commission, we insisted that we are the owners of the land and that the Supreme Court’s decision must be followed because it is still binding law.

“Funny enough, our brother Enugwu community Umuawulu, who supported Abo Ani and testified against us in court that Abo Ani owned the land, has now reversed course and claimed that the land belongs to them, Enugwu, demonstrating that they are backed up by some powerful forces from the state government.

“While we were interfacing with Abo Ani at the meeting presided over by the Deputy Governor, he informed us that he has no business with the Supreme Court judgement and others, and that he has not even gone through the documents we submitted; he only wants the inspection and demarcation of the land in dispute.

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“It is clear from the Deputy Governor’s utterances that he is biassed and influenced by the Chief of Staff, who is from Awgbu, and Nkala, a former Director of the Anambra State Boundary Commission, which is why we are calling on Governor Soludo to come to our rescue.

“It is the sacred duty of the Anambra State Boundary Committee to follow and apply the said demarcation as judiciously fixed to accord with the judicially fixed boundary, as anything less will not only amount to the Anambra State Boundary Committee reviewing and reversing the judgement of the competent court, but will also amount to contempt of court,” Obi warned.

In a petition to Governor Soludo, the President and Secretary of Umuenu Umuawulu, Nze Okoye Godwin and Mr. Nwafor Tochukwu, respectively, reminded him of his belief in the supremacy of law, stating that he should not allow any influence from any quarter to cede the land or part of it to both Abo Ani Awgbu and Enugwu Umuawulu because they were trespassers stopped by the courts of the land.

Reiterating the dangers of ceding land to unauthorised communities, the duo urged Governor Soludo to instead invite the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice to explain the implications of disobeying a court order.

Among those who spoke during the protest was Tochukwu Okoye, 94, who said, “I am surprised that someone who signed witness for another now claims to be the owner of the land; let us think twice. I am calling on Soludo, a peaceful man, to intervene in this situation.”

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Chief Johnson Anazonwu Nwafor, 88, stated, “I was cultivating with my father in that land as a child, so I know everything there. We have no problem with Enugwu in that land; only Awgbu people. Our village is peaceful; otherwise, there would be bloodshed in that land as a result of what they are doing to us.”

Mr. Roseline Adobe, a widow, added, “I cultivated yam and cassava, among other things, but they destroyed all of my crops and took my hoe and knife.” “That is the only place I feed my kids.”

According to Mrs Susan Nwaeke Ogbunike, “They stormed into the farm where we were cultivating, chased us away, levelled all my farm, destroyed all my crops, and as a result, my blood pressure rose, and I am still suffering from it today. Governor Soludo, we are requesting your assistance.

Mrs Chinwendu Nwanaka, a widow, said, “I was on my way to get something in my farm when someone told me that everything we cultivated, yam, cassava, cocoyam, was destroyed. When I got there, I could not get anything, and I started crying because no one could help me.”

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NEWSXTRA

Edi Abali Group Raises Alarm Over Security Threat To Ancestral Home, Assets Of Ahaji Dokubo-Asari By Military

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Dokubo-Asari

The Edi Abali Group has expressed concern about a security threat to the ancestral home and assets of
Alhaji Mujahid Abubakr Dokubo-Asari, the Paramount Ruler of Edi Abali Group of War Canoe and Chieftaincy Houses in the Kalabari Kingdom of Rivers State, by the military.
According to a public notice issued by the Edi Abali Group, credible intelligence has revealed plans by elements of the 103 Battalion of the Nigerian Army in Obuama to provoke a confrontation and disrupt the peace in the area.
The notice states that the plot is aimed specifically at Alhaji Mujahid Abubakr Dokubo-Asari, who is currently out of the country. The army allegedly intends to use his absence to instigate a crisis that could be falsely blamed on community members, resulting in attacks on innocent people. The Edi Abali Group confirms that there are no conflicts between their community, the army, and Alhaji Mujahid Abubakr Dokubo-Asari or his company, Royal Fouche Services Limited.
According to the notice, tensions arose after Alhaji Mujahid Abubakr Dokubo-Asari spoke out about the involvement of some Nigerian Army personnel in oil bunkering activities in the Niger Delta. These activities allegedly deprived the government of much-needed revenue, causing dissatisfaction among these elements. The group believes that they are deliberately inciting a crisis involving Royal Fouche Services personnel to justify an attack on innocent Kalabari indigenes, particularly in Obuama, where Alhaji Mujahid Abubakr Dokubo-Asari and the 103 Battalion are stationed.
Mr Mpakaboari Pankin Braide stated:
“The army in Obama is aware of his absence from the country and intends to use it to incite a crisis that will be falsely attributed to community members, resulting in attacks on innocent people.”
The Edi Abali Group urges the Nigerian Army to be aware of this plot and not be duped into jeopardising peace and security in the region. They also highlight Alhaji Mujahid Abubakr Dokubo-Asari and Royal Fouche Services Limited’s successful collaboration with security agencies in the fight against terrorism, kidnapping, and insurgency.
The group intends to inform the public, as well as the people of Kalabari and Rivers State, about the planned provocation against innocent people, including Alhaji Mujahid Abubakr Dokubo-Asari.
They emphasise his determination to assist President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Federal Government and Governor Sim Fubara’s Rivers State Governments in ensuring the safety and security of all Nigerians.
According to Mr Mpakaboari Pankin Braide, Secretary Edi Abali, Group of War Canoe and Chieftaincy Houses: “We want the public, particularly the people of Kalabari and Rivers State, to be aware of this planned provocation against innocent people, including Alhaji Mujahid Abubakr Dokubo-Asari, who remains committed to assisting the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led Federal Government and the Governor Sim Fubara-led Rivers State Governments in ensuring the safety and security of all Nigerians.”

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‘Unveiling The Truth Of Boko Haram,’ Group Launches Audio Series Of Insurgency In North East

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Book Haram insugents

The newly formed coalition of civil society organisations known as ‘The Truth Alliance’, which is dedicated to shedding light on the truth behind the reality of life inside and outside Boko Haram, has released a gripping three-part audio series titled “Unveiling the Truth of Boko Haram” to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the kidnapping of the Chibok Girls in Northeast Nigeria.

According to a statement issued on Sunday, “Boko Haram’s presence in Nigeria has had far-reaching consequences for the region’s peace and stability, resulting in the destruction of families and communities and forcing many people to live in IDP camps.” Each person has a unique story to tell about how they were persuaded to join and how their lives, and those of their families, were destroyed as a result.
Others tell the story of how they became innocent victims of Boko Haram’s destructive path.

“Through this evocative series, each story reveals the truth behind the way each was manipulated, lied to and impacted, telling others not to fall into their trap.

“Each story delves into the harrowing experiences of those affected by Boko Haram’s atrocities, including Islamic clerics, as seen through the eyes of those who were once involved or impacted by the group.
Among the stories told is that of Bukar Bukar, a survivor who was brutally attacked by armed assailants in 2015 and is now living in an IDP camp.
According to the statement in this series, Bukar Bukar revealed that following the initial attack on their village: “The northern part of our village is a bush, and Boko Haram came through it to fight the military until the next morning when they arrested some of our youth.
” Ever since then, I said that we were not going to do any farming activity because members of Boko Haram were killed.
“Boko Haram are like Camels; they don’t forget things that are done to them easily. 1000 military personnel were sent to us but after a while, they became a little less than 100”.

Other stories in the series will include that of Modu Mustapha, a farmer and father of seven children who escaped Boko Haram twice: Shown exclusively on the Truth Alliance’s YouTube channel and across various social media platforms, audiences worldwide are invited to bear witness to the untold truths of life inside and outside Boko Haram in Nigeria.

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According to the statement, The Truth Alliance is committed to unmasking the truth behind violent and extremist groups and empowering communities to resist tyranny and violence.
Through education, outreach, and collaboration, the Truth Alliance strives to build a safer, more resilient society for all.
In a campaign tagged ‘Time to Tell the Truth’, the Truth Alliance has come together to expose the truth behind how violent extremist groups draw young people into their ranks.

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Nigerians Urged To Stand Against Sufferings Caused By Violent Extremist Groups

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Chibok schoolgirls

The Truth Alliance has invited all Nigerians to join its campaign and speak out against the suffering caused by violent extremist groups, claiming that “Together, we can save lives, protect our communities, and uphold the values of peace, tolerance, and unity.”
In a statement issued on Sunday, the group said: “Ten years ago, the world was shocked by the terrorist group Boko Haram’s abduction of over 270 innocent girls from Chibok. While some have managed to escape and others have been returned, many remain missing, their fate unknown.
“In the decade since this tragic event, numerous violent extremist groups have continued to carry out acts of terror, wreaking havoc and causing untold suffering to countless innocent Nigerians. These groups thrive on spreading fear, death, and destruction, leaving a trail of devastation in their wake.
“As an alliance of NGOs and Civil Society groups, we have united under the banner of ‘Time to Tell the Truth’ to shed light on the harsh realities of life inside these extremist groups. We aim to expose the lies and deceptions they employ to lure individuals into joining their ranks and carrying out their agenda of destruction.
“On this solemn 10th anniversary, we stand together to remind the authorities and all relevant stakeholders that the abduction of the Chibok girls remains a poignant chapter in our national history—a stark reminder of the atrocities committed by violent extremist groups. It serves as a solemn call to action to ensure that such a tragedy is never repeated.
“Beyond the Chibok girls themselves, we recognise that there are “Chibok Girls” in every community—girls who, despite all odds, strive for an education and a better future.” Their resilience embodies the spirit of hope amidst adversity, and it is our collective responsibility to safeguard their right to education and security.”
The Truth Alliance, according to the statement, is dedicated to uncovering the truth behind violent extremist groups and empowering communities to resist tyranny and violence. Through education, outreach, and collaborative efforts, we strive to create a safer and more resilient society for all Nigerians.
“In our campaign dubbed ‘Time to Tell the Truth’, the Truth Alliance aims to expose the tactics employed by violent extremist groups to recruit and radicalise young people.

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