– Life in Udumuje Ugboko, a community in Aniocha north council area of Delta state is getting hard for the residents
– Community chiefs, youths and market women are daily living in fear unaware of when thugs would invade the community and the monumental loss that may follow.
– The crisis that erupted following the tussle for the heir to the throne had taken a dangerous dimension in the community
After the violence that recently erupted in Idumuje-Ugboko, an agrarian community in Aniocha North local government area of Delta state, the tale is such that could be described as evidence of sorrow, tears and blood.
The gory sight of the point where a young man was murdered, the injured youths, the displaced and homeless, the wanton destruction of properties, all these attest to the wreck left behind by the battle for royalty, a development which has thrown the community into confusion and frustration.
Even the team of police from the offices of the assistant inspector general of police zone 5, Benin City, the commissioner of police, Delta state command and the divisional police headquarters, Issele-Uku could not resist an intermittent facial expression of surprises, shock and pain at the level of mayhem unleashed on a community by youths allegedly imported to cause mayhem and havoc on the tiny and agricultural community.
Before conducting journalists round the town to families whose houses were destroyed, one of the actors, Prince Ned Nwoko had briefed the media representatives on the outcome of the meeting of parties in the Ugboko crisis with the AIG Abubakar.
It was learnt that the bone of contention leading to the wanton destruction of lives and property is the 90 hectares of land allocated to Prince Ned Nwoko to build a sports university. Available documents, however, indicate that the land was duly approved for Ned by the former Obi Albert Nwoko prior to his demise in February 2017. But at the death of the former Obi, the land became a subject of crisis.
The Odogwu of Ugboko, Chief Sunday Anthony Edemodu, who is also a victim of the crisis, confirmed as the land allocation chairman that Obi Albert duly approved the allocation of the said land to Ned as agreed by Ugboko community. He said his family was attacked for standing on the truth.
The secretary of the land allocation committee, Mr. Kennedy Iloh, also affirmed the claims of the Odogwu, maintaining that some cabals are opposed to development in the tiny community. He said a handful of elders in the community were beaten up and rendered homeless by thugs allegedly imported to the community.
Meanwhile, every other victim spoken to, including a 75-year-old Mrs. Maria Nwoko alleged that one Ashioma Omezie led Chiejume Ndudi, Kachi Nwoko, Nnamdi Ochei, Nonso Omeife a.k.a Mandela, Iyke Moemeke, Ifeanyi Chima, Nwabuisi Chima, Ndudi Chibu and over 25 others to beat them up and destroy their houses at night. She pleaded with the police to be in constant operation in the community to protect them, claiming that their lives are in danger as the entire community has been engulfed in fear.
However, it was later learnt that over 150 youths and elders, including the Iyase of Ugboko, Chief Chris Ogwu and the last wife of the former Obi, Queen Faith Okwukwe Nwoko now live at the Mount of Delta, a tourist centre built by Ned Nwoko as refugees.
The now frayed looking Iyase, a veteran journalist himself and pioneer Editor of the Pointer newspapers, a newspaper published by Delta state government, stressed that only God could help the community from the hands of cabals holding the community to ransom. He said ever since the incident when his house and brand new car were destroyed he had sought refuge in the tightly secured Ned Nwoko’s house.
Chief Ogwu had earlier briefed journalists in Asaba after the carnage in his community, noting that the community is under siege and calling for the intervention of the police and Delta state government.
According to the Ugboko youth leader, Emmanuel Kogwonye: “We, as youths have decided not to fight back at those attacking us, no matter the level of provocation. We thank Ned Nwoko for making his country home available for our safety.
“So, we are here to protect our people, while also ensuring that no attack comes to Mount Ned Nwoko.
This whole issue started when Prince Ned said he was bringing a university to our community, which we welcomed as development. But some cabal turned his good intention and gesture into selfish interest with an attempt to rubbish our patrimonial relationship.”
Houses were destroyed across the length and breadth of the community.
The following people’s homes including numerous others were destroyed: Agbamuche Elozie, Moses Chisimdi, Chukwunweike Maduagwu, Onweazu Ofili, Chief Sunday Edemodu, Chief Chris Ogwu, Mrs. Gladys Kaogwaonye (PDP women leader), Victor Eziokwu Omezie and others had their houses destroyed, including a car, motor cycles, cassava machine, pumping machine and other household equipment.
However, several attempts had been made through calls to Prince Nonso Nwoko, the supposed crown prince to give his opinion on the happenings in his community and way forward for peace, but all to no avail. At the point when he picked, he refused to make comment, instead he said he would arrange for a convenient date for an appointment.
However, as at the time of publishing this report, journalists could not speak with him.