PERSPECTIVE – Idumuje-Ugboko crisis: Ifejokwu and the burden of guilt

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Idumuje-Ugboko Traditional stool.

By Chucks Kelvin Nwaonye

An avalanche of claims and counter claims had been presented over the Idumuje-Ugboko communal crisis in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta state. But no one had been as laughable and ridiculous as much as a recent publication by one Okey Ifejokwu.

First, hho is Okey Ifejokwu? He is the self styled President General of Idumuje-Ugboko Development Union (IUDU), facing multiple trials for alleged murder and widespread acts of brigandage in his rural community.

The embattled Ifejokwu in a piece circulated widely in the media had tried to extricate himself from the Idumuje-Ugboko crisis in one of the most absurd deceptions and hypocrisy ever seen.

In the dubious narrative shared and obviously written by notorious paid propagandist and Nigerian fugitive idling in America, Azuka Jebose, Ifejokwu gave a false account of the tragic events of 2017 in Idumuje-ugboko, labeling himself a victim in a mayhem he helped to fuel in grotesque terror.

Mocking truth in shameless scam , Ifejokwu wrote through Jebose that the “Good people of ANIOCHA NORTH LGA, DELTA STATE GOVERNMENT, (sic) and Nigerians in general, should please come to Idumuje-Ugboko’s rescue for life becomes brutish without consequential laws”

While weeping crocodile tears, calling for “rescue “of Idumuje-Ugboko, Ifejokwu failed to tell the world his role in the mayhem, so despicable and abominable.

Precisely between May 18 – 25, 2017, Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko, usurper to the ancient Idumuje-Ugboko throne working hand in hand allegedly with Okey Ifejokwu , Gabriel Ogbechie and a murderous gang unleashed hell on the community.

In a terrorist frenzy their dangerous thugs and hired militia imported from far and near, invaded the community to silence general opposition against Prince Nonso’s illegitimate ascension to the throne.

During the invasion, gang of terrorists chanting war songs allegedly attacked the various leaders and groups in the kingdom. These include the vigilante group ably led by Mr. Peter Bama who was beaten and dragged round the town on his birthday suit. They forced him to lead them to the homes of other vigilante members where the double barrel guns and bullets provided the vigilante members by the community for anti-crime purpose were stolen.

The gangsters equally took away the security motorcycles acquired for the vigilantes to aid mobility and quick response to distress calls for effective community policing and protection of lives and properties in the community.

Furthermore, they attacked individuals at their homes. The secretary of the land allocation committee and then Chairman of the IUDU Taskforce Committee, Mr. Kennedy Nedu Illoh was abducted from his home and dragged to the palace, then beaten to intimidate him to submit his loyalty to Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko. Kennedy Illoh never recovered from this inhuman torture as he died thereafter as a result of fatal injuries.

The next day the attacks continued with increased hostility. Chief Chris Ogwu, the Iyese (Traditional Prime Minister) of Idumuje-Ugboko was attacked at his home and abducted to the palace after his two cars parked were vandalized, his house ransacked and vital documents including other valuables stolen by the armed gang.

At the palace, he was flogged, forced to lie down on the floor and severely beaten in front of Prince Chukwunonso and his men who were watching and enjoying the pains, agony and humiliation of the traditional Prime Minister by the hired assailants. The Iyese was lucky not to have been killed, but he is still suffering the physical and psychological trauma.

Chief Sunday Edemodu, the Odogwu of Idumuje-Ugboko was not spared the misdirected wrath of this gang. They invaded his home at night, damaged his house and looted his valuables. This attack has left him partially disabled battling with complicated health challenges till date.

Mr. Victor Omezi, an illustrious son of the community narrowly escaped death because he was lucky to have travelled when the hoodlums controlled by Ifejokwu evaded his home. But his home and properties were not spared. The gang set his building ablaze after the looting of most of his valuables including cash and imported artifacts.

The hoodlums shot one Mr. Cyprian Kumiolu, a young motor cycle rider and life was snuffed out of him. He was murdered in cold blood in front of the palace by the hired bandits in a bid to please Prince Chukwunonso Justin Nwoko and his cohorts. Cyprian Kumiolu’s corpse, according to eye-witnesses was moved from the palace to the market square in a wheelbarrow by one of the arrested suspects already standing trial, and at midnight the corpse was taken away to an unknown location.

Till date the body of this young Benue State indigene has not been found. On March 2020, his father appeared before the Obi of Owa Peace Committee on the Idumuje-Ugboko crisis pleading with Idumuje-Ugboko to release the corpse of his son to him for burial. Painful enough, the young man was not only murdered in cold blood, his motorcycle was set ablaze and burnt to ashes. What a gory story of man’s inhumanity to man!

It is the same gory stories of wanton destructions, looting, arson, beating, humiliation in over 29 other homes in the community as recorded by both the Nigerian Police and National Human Rights Commission who visited the community to see things for themselves.

But for the reinforcement of the security agencies who arrived Idumuje-Ugboko late 25th May, 2017, the calamity brought upon the community by Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko , Okey Ifejokwu and their financiers perhaps would have been more colossal.

The people of Idumuje-Ugboko Kingdom, from 2015 till date, have been under the vice grip of anti-progressive forces posing to be above the laws of the land and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Ironically Ifejokwu is talking about justice when he had trampled upon the law with his alleged involvement in the Idumuje-Ugboko mayhem.

Throughout the reign of terror in our dear village, no one heard the voice of Okey Ifejokwu calling for the “rescue” of Idumuje-Ugboko. Today he is desperately singing because the police swooped on him and his violent gang, now facing trial at various courts. A case of an oppressor playing the victim.

The best way to rescue Idumuje-Ugboko is for JUSTICE to prevail with the full prosecution of Okey Ifejokwu and his group of marauders. They must also compensate the victims of their terror attacks for peace and justice to reign in Idumuje-Ugboko.

In 2017 okey ifejoku sent messages to Ugboko people announcing that war was going to break out and that he needed people to contribute money to buy arms to fight their “common enemy”. He gave the bank account details of the youth president Raymond omesiete for the contribution the “war” .Okey didn’t stop there, he personally led the gang that abducted Kennedy illoh, which led to the man’s death.

It amounts to wickedness for Ifejokwu to feign ignorance and deceptive innocence after plotting unimaginable evil against hapless people of his fatherland.

In his hypothetical stance to sound saint and whip up sentiments, he failed to inform the world that the Police invited him with others as suspects over the violence at Idumuje-Ugboko and the matters are in various courts of competent jurisdiction . There is a case of terrorism against the suspects in CHARGE NO. FHC/ABJ/11/19 instituted by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja. Fourteen of the suspects including Ifejokwu were arrested and charged before the Federal High Court and granted them bail on stringent conditions.

On his accusation of Prince Ned Nwoko over the circumstances of the STARS university land in Idumuje-Ugboko, Ifejokwu knows he lied.

The truth is that on the 16th of March, 2015, Hon. (Prince) Ned Nwoko through his company, Linas International Limited, applied to HRM Obi Albert O. Nwoko III, JP; (MON) now of blessed memory for 90 hectares of land for the establishment of a university known as STARS UNIVERSITY and international Golf course .

Prince Ned Nwoko had earlier been granted 33 hectares in year 2000 for agricultural and allied purposes. Prince Ned swiftly brought into the community about 500 cows for dairy farm and built the factory for the dairy products, the fisheries, poultry, zoo and some palm plantations and grazing areas for the animals.

This parcel of land was fully utilized for Agricultural and allied purposes for which it was granted. The remaining part of the land had also been fully utilized for site of the university housing hostel for boys and girls, academic building, cafeteria and library, staff quarters and engineering department.

Today, work has reached advanced stage at the STARS University and international Golf course awaiting accreditation by the National Universities Commission (NUC).

It would be recalled that following the application for the 90 hectares of land for the university and golf course, the king had convened a meeting of the Obi-in-Council and the request was duly approved.

This development led to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Linas International Limited and Idumuje-Ugboko community. The MOU ceded 60 per cent equity to Linas International Limited and 40 per cent to Idumuje-Ugboko community. It was signed by the parties and dated 25th August, 2015.

Based on the allocation, Prince Ned Nwoko and Linas International Ltd compensated genuine tenant-farmers working on the land and paid the mandatory allocation/administrative fees.

It is worthy of note to mention that the same land for the Golf course has been claimed by Onicha-Ugbo people. Infact Prince Ned paid over two hundred and fifty million (250,000,000:00) Naira to the Onicha-Ugbo indigenes following written agreements. The land in dispute with the Banyes (who are allegedly being used and instigated by Chukwunonso, Gabriel, Ifejokwu and co) is less than one hectare. This is Idumuje-Ugboko community land that was being farmed by various people including the Banyes. As at today Prince Ned is the only one with any title to this land.

It is also recalled that at an Abuja meeting between Gabriel Ogbechie and Prince Ned Nwoko, Gabriel advised Prince Ned to arrange a gift of one hundred million (N100,000,000:00) Naira for Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko because according to Dr. Ogbechie, Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko needed money badly for personal upkeep. Of course Prince Ned declined, insisting that he won’t do anything outside the directives of Idumuje-Ugboko Land Allocation Committee. Ned obviously considered such an action a form of bribery. NED WILL NEVER GIVE BRIBE OVER HIS LAND…TOTALLY AGAINST HIS VALUES.

In frustration over his failed bid to foist Prince Nonso on Idumuje Ugboko people, with all the macabre consequences, Gabriel had been involved in other uncharitable plots, the most recent being an alleged assassination attempt on Ned. A serious matter now before police investigations, as he has been detained and quizzed several times by the security agents.

Let Okey Ifejokwu keep lying. He titled his falsehood “IF YOU DONT KNOW BY NOW “ But we know he his pretending. We know he knows the truth. Not NOW but ever since!

He bears a burden. The burden of guilt. Guilt waiting for inescapable justice. And the guilty is afraid!

• Nwaonye is an Abuja based public affairs analyst.

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