The many members of the Isi-Agu Development Union, Ugwuanyi Awkunanaw, Enugu South local government area of Enugu State, have cried out over their king's high-handedness.
They decried the alleged high-handedness of the traditional ruler of Obeagu Autonomous Community, Igwe Christopher Ikenga.
They accused the traditional ruler of attempting to take their ancestral land.
The leadership of the Town Union in a statement on Thursday said that even though the matter was already in court, Ikenga continued to use his son, who is a senior police officer, to harass and intimidate them out of their ancestral land.
In the statement jointly signed by the Chairman and Secretary of Isi-Agu, Ugwuaji Development Union, UDU, Okwudili Ani and Joseph Onuh respectively, they accused the monarch of driving out some people in the community. They also accused the traditional ruler of using some security agents to accuse them of committing various crimes including murder, in order to prevent them from questioning his land-grabbing activities.
"Let us have possession of our land. We want to claim the ownership of our ancestral land," one of the aggrieved members of the community said.
According to a statement issued by Isi-Agu Development Union, Ugwuaji comprised six villages - Isi-Agu, Umunaugwu, Ndiaga, Umunnajiengene, Ochufu and Amauzam before Ochufu and Amauzam were carved out and made Obeagu Autonomous Community under one late Igwe Reuben Awgu.
Trouble, however, broke out in the community shortly after Ikenga was made a traditional ruler and after Agwu died, they stated.
According to the statement, prior to the emergence of Ikenga as a traditional ruler, they owned land where the community farmed together. They accused Ikenga of disrupting the arrangement.
The statement said, "We the executive of Isi-Agu Development Union would like to react to the royal lies and daylight brigandage by Igwe Christopher Ikenga of Obeagu Amechi published on 29th November, 2022.
“This press briefing has become necessary after the Igwe Ikenga has further confirmed that he is not only a professional trickster but also a perfect liar by denying using all the government apparatus via his son who is a DSP to intimidate, harass, imprison and threaten the people of Isi-Agu all in the name of trying to forcibly collect their properties and seize same boasting that Isi-Agu has nobody and that they will do nothing.”
"For clarity purpose, let me go down history lane. The land known as part of Ndafe Ini, Eshi Ebie, Mgbala and Ofia Nwaene has from time immemorial been our ancestral land and heritage. We have been farming on this land, as Isi-Agu village when Ugwuaji has one single Igwe," adding that Ikenga brought confusion to the community which led to court actions.
They maintain that unless Ikenga allows peace to reign by allowing them to get their ancestral land back, peace might continue to evade the community.
But reacting to the allegation, Ikenga, and members of his cabinet dismissed the allegations of misconduct, land grabbing, and intimidation of the people of Isiagu village.
Ikenga said his accusers want to drag the image of his respected family into the mud.
He further explained that demarcation of the boundaries of the lands belonging to the six communities that make up the locality ab initio commenced in 2008, and ended in 2015, stressing that after the exercise, it was judiciously shared between his own two communities and the other four by the state government.
"All they are telling you are lies. Nobody is intimidating anybody; that is what I can tell you," he said.
Similarly, some ‘concerned villagers’ had petitioned Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, State Traditional Rulers Council, and the Police Service Commission (PSC) over what they termed alleged encroachment, malicious damage and conduct likely to cause a breach of peace in their locality by Ikenga and his son, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga.