43 houses destroyed, 300 displaced as thugs invade Ebonyi community over land dispute

One of the destroyed houses

It was a moment of grief for the victims and a field day for their thugs, who went into Ndiefi-Ishieke village of Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, to cause mayhem.

It was gathered that hoodlums numbering over 50 went into 43 compounds situated within a communal land, shot some villagers and destroyed their buildings.

Vanguard investigation revealed that 11 persons were injured and 300 persons displaced in the affected community.

Confirming the incident, a key stakeholder of Ndiefi-Ishieke village, Dr Nwoba Benjamin, lamented over the attack unleashed on the villagers by some hired thugs.

He alleged that what caused the incident was because a particular family was laying claim to the communal land

The claim, according to sources, was what caused agitation among the villagers, who insisted that the communal land doesn’t belong to a particular family, but to every indigene of the affected village.

Benjamin alleged that some key stakeholders of said kindred were behind the attack on the innocent villagers.

He added that the villagers stressed that the communal land was not meant for a particular family, as many people from the village had over the years got a fair share of the communal land.

He further alleged that the thugs were led by a council Chairman, Chinedu Uburu, and that none of the hoodlums had been arrested.

However, in a quick reaction, the Chairman of Ebonyi LGA, Mr. Chinedu Uburu, denied any involvement, saying the allegation was directed at tarnishing his image.

“Nobody has officially reported to me that there was any destruction in the affected community.

I am hearing about it for the first time. The day of the burial, the police were on ground. If any body is pointing accusing fingers at me, it’s just cheap blackmail.

“Surely, I will visit the place and alert some security agencies to swing into action,” the council boss said.

But according to Benjamin, the thugs from nowhere, between Tuesday and Wednesday last week, unleashed mayhem on the villagers that opposed the ownership of the land to a particular family

“The thugs were hired and were shooting sporadically. About 100 buildings were destroyed.

“There’s a communal land in the village, which the community usually share to indigenes of the village, when you grow and get married.

“But a particular family claimed that it is their land. One of them died and was buried in the community land even as the community refused such development.

“At about 3a.m. of the fateful day, the thugs started destroying people’s properties. I was reliably informed that SWAT saw them and didn’t do anything.

“Thugs were going from one building to the other causing mayhem and stabbing people.

“One military man was also involved in the act. The police saw things for themselves but didn’t do anything.

“The destruction went on for three days. The land is for the community. 43 compounds were destroyed and 11 persons were injured as more than 300 hundred persons are now displaced,” Benjamin narrated.

The embattled Village Head of Ndiefi-Ishieke village in Ebonyi LGA, Eze Sunday, called on the state government not to take side with any clan in the affected village but to play a fatherly role by providing unity, peace and oneness among the people of Ndiefi-Ishieke village.

He said: “We want the state government to know what is happening. They should not victimize a particular clan but carry everybody along.

“They should allow those displaced to come back to their compounds.

“The compound of the family that said the communal land belonged to them is from Igbogima. The hoodlums should be brought to book.

“Our incoming governor should assist us in maintaining peace in the village. He should not look at the kindred dichotomy.

“The State Government should look into the matter. We are very sad over the development. I am the complaint but they are turning me into the accused.”

The victims, Nowdom Alibasa and Romanus Njoku, who spoke to Vanguard, lamented how their compounds were destroyed and lives were threatened, following the ugly episode that took place in their Village.

Contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Onome Onovwakpoyeya, stated that the Command was not aware of the incident.

Credit: Vanguard

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