Property worth millions of naira were reportedly destroyed by suspected land grabbers in Egwuatu Estate in Ogwali village, Nsugbe, Oyi local Government Area of Anambra state.
The land grabbers, numbering over 60 and armed to the teeth who reportedly stormed the community with team of policemen, alongside bulldozers and caterpillars allegedly maimed some residents, destroyed their property after installing beacons on some parcel of land in the area.
Narrating their ordeal to newsmen, chairman of the landlords Association in the area, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, said, ” were in our houses on Easter Saturday when over 60 suspected land grabbers that were well armed and accompanied by some policemen stormed our residences in Egwuatu Estate, Ogwali village, Nsugbe, and started attacking the whole of us.
“They brought down the two security gates, touched the security house, machete two security men, Chuks Obiefuna and Sunday Okoli, which gave them deep cut on their heads, beat us the residents up and some of us fled for their lives.
“They destroyed our properties and looted anything within reach and the police were watching them commit this atrocity and that was why we mobilized immediately and lodged the complaint to the police authority.
“Since then, the situation became worse until now that the police authority invited both of us and it became clear that they were land grabbers who have no documented proof of the land they are laying claim to.
“This land (estate in question) was purchased from Ogwali village people of Nsugbe by Egwuatu family of Onitsha in 1931 and we bought the land from Egwuatu family having inquired that the land belongs 100 per cent to Egwuatu family of Onitsha and the Egwuatu family is backing us with the youths of Ogwali and neighbouring village of Agbalabu.
“I call on Governor Willie Obiano, police commissioner and the inspector General of Police to come to our rescue before these land grabbers who though on the run now, stage a bloody come back. We will not keep our hands akimbo watching them destroy our land and hard-earned property. Youths of the original owners (Ogwali village) and
neighbouring village of Agbalabu are waiting for them.”
Earlier, Mr. Perry Wilkey, a representative of the Egwuatu family of Onitsha that bought the land from Ogwali village of Nsugbe, said, “my maternal grandfather bought the land from Ogwali village people of Nsugbe in 1931”
“Those laying claim to the land have no foundation, they are land grabbers that have met the brick wall. We have documented proof of our claim to buttress our facts.”
Also reacting, the Chairman of Ogwali village youths, Mr. Paul Onuorah Okoye, who was flanked by his vice, Mr. Onyibo Emmanuel Amaku, condemned the attack and lamented those police arrested him and his vice because they opposed the land grabbers’ encroachment on the Egwuatu estate.
“We will do anything humanly possible to ensure the land grabbers who are on the run will not penetrate here again” he vowed.
Lamenting the looting in his house under construction, Mr Menkiti Lawrence, said, “I bought this property more than five years ago from Egwuatu family of Onitsha who bought the land from Ogwali village people of Nsugbe in 1931.
“In April some hoodlums came and machete my head mason and injured other workers, looted more than 20 bags of cement, nails, planks, among others.
“For the past two months this is the first time that I am coming here I was made to understand that a red cap chief from Onitsha is claiming ownership of the land but he has no documented proof to back up his claim.
“We are crying for the world to know that there is a case of intimidation to grab our land. We are living in fear over thugs and land grabbers’ assault on us and we urge Governor willie Obiano to intervene.”