Residents of Umugama village, Ukwulu in the Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State have fled to neighboring villages in fear of being slaughtered by some suspected hoodlums who invaded the area over a land dispute.
According to the village chairman, Peter Okoye, the invasion was caused by a land dispute between one Mr. Philip Dilibe and the town authorities.
On Friday, shortly after a protest along Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu (COOU), Igbariam route, via Onitsha-Enugu expressway, Okoye, the village chairman raised the alarm while speaking to journalists.
During the raids, he said that some farmers were shot, injured and their Cassava farms were damaged.
Okoye, who is also a lecturer at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, explains how it all began. “It all began after my village, Ugamama, obtained a Supreme Court judgment on February 15, 2019 in the 45-year disputed land tussle between our neighboring communities of Ukpo, Ukwulu, and Abba, all in the Dunukofia Council Area of the state.” he said.
The land is referred to as Odagba land.
Following the judgment in favor of the Ukwulu community, the man, Phillip Dilibe, criminally begins his notorious activities against his own people in collaboration with unknown persons and begins selling land to prospective buyers without the knowledge or approval of the community progressive union, which consists of the Traditional ruler, the President General, the Village Chairman, and his executive.
He mobilised some working machines (bulldozers) to the land in issue, where our people are farming, and destroyed practically all of the crops, especially cassava, with the malicious purpose of selling all of the disputed land for his selfish use alone in September 2021.
No fewer than two people were injured on 25 February, 2022 Friday when hoodlums invaded our community.
Metro Times reporter confirms the attackers were armed with guns and other dangerous weapons on Friday 25 February, 2022.
According to Okoye, the man Philip has trained thugs who help in destroying farms and molesting our married women emotionally despite their cries, shouting, and complaints for help.
“I called the Police Divisional Headquarters, Ukpo, who responded quickly during the attack on Friday and recovered a pump action gun, machetes, charms, a Thundra Jeep, and other dangerous weapons used in inflicting various degrees of injuries from the mobilized hoodlums.” he added.
We filed multiple complaints against him with the police, and some of the cases were prosecuted in court. But, much to our surprise, the more the police enforce their authority over him, the more criminal acts he engages in.
We are becoming frustrated since the police authority has failed to provide us with a satisfactory solution.
Whenever we report him to the police in the hopes of getting him arrested, he is released without a single threat from the Police Command.
As I speak to you, Journalists, he is travelling around the hamlet reassuring everyone, including the security authorities, that because of his extensive network across the country, no one would hurt him.
For assistance, we have filed complaints and petitions to the Council Police Divisional Headquarters, the State Command, Zone 13 Headquarters, and Nigerian Police Force Headquarters Abuja.
Philip and his accomplice have tried multiple times to replace me as Chairman of the Village Council, but the people have stood firm because they trust my leadership style.
Okoye wants him to change his attitude, pointing that the land’s inheritors are currently opposed to him.
In a brief statement, Mrs. Nonye Okeke, the village women’s leader, urged the police to sanction Philip Dilibe so that peace might return to the community in the village.