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Egbeda community deserted

Posted by The Port Harcourt Telegraph on 2005/01/11 | Views: 628 |

Egbeda community deserted


Egbeda community in the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government area has turned into a ghost town.

* combatants fight to finish over land
* one man loses life during the crisis
* Mobile Police take over community

Egbeda community in the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government area has turned into a ghost town.

This is sequel to fighting between the Umuogbo and Umuaku families over a land that has been in dispute.

The situation, reports from the area say, is so tense.
Although the matter escalated out of control on the 31st of December 2004 after one of the parties in dispute decided to honour the council chairman and one supervisory councillor, many blame the immediate cause of the crisis on a decision handed down by the Oba of Ogbaland, Oba Chkwumela Nnam Obi II.

The Oba had ruled on the dispute after listening to the arguments put before him.

His decision did not go down well with a faction.
There were equally remote causes from what we have been able to piece together.

While the crisis in the community was blossoming a youth election was organized.

That election, many natives agree, was free and fair and was conducted, it is said, under the watchful gaze of the council chairman.

We have heard that the Ogba monarch went ahead, probably on the basis of advice, to dissolve the youth leadership of the community.

The Community Development Committee, CDC was not spared either.

The Oba sacked members of the CDC.

It is certain, going by the run of events, that the counsel and decisions of the monarch did not go down well with a faction.

This is not surprising nonetheless. For eight years, no solution has been found over the land dispute.

Local people say the matter had even gotten as far as the Okija Shrine which was exposed by the police.

Perhaps, fueling the dispute is the suspicion that oil has been found on it.

Ogba history records that the two factions - Umuogbo and Umuaku - did things in common about 20 years ago, and were seen as one.

Much has changed since then and the land dispute has not helped matters.

Rather, it has bred hatred, sown the seeds of discord and threatened the overall stability of Egbeda.

No doubt, tension had been building, following what may appear to be the decision of Oba Chukwumela Nnam Obi to stick to the royal proclamation despite pressures urging a reversal of the order.

So, when on December 31 st, a group tried to receive the council chairman and a supervisory councilor, there was the suspicion that under the cover of that function, a new youth leadership would be imposed.
The rival group struck.

The action was totally unexpected and the attack threw the community off balance as fighting broke out.
In the process, a soul was lost. His name was given as Chukwula Adiala Friday.

He was felled and his hand cut. His assailants believed to be members of a cult took away the hand but his remains after he bled to death has been deposited at the morgue.
It would be the first time since the differences between the Umuakus and Umuogbos started that a life would be lost.
Yet, it was a signal that unless something urgent is done, the trouble might escalate.

Every one has fled and Egbeda is now a shadow of itself.
Only the Mobile Police team drafted to the area to keep the peace can be seen.

Incidentally, the youth that was hacked down was not from Umuaku or Umuogbo.

He hailed from the Umungwor family. There is mourning among the Umungwor and anger too. And there are calls for revenge.
Where all this would lead to remains unclear, but among the Ogba people there is deep concern, concern that properties have been lost, concern that something even more terrible might happen.

In the meantime, the police have made arrests, bringing in for interrogation, scores of suspects.

Although several names have come up in the course of Telegraph's investigation, two names have remained recurring decimals as the arrowheads of the crisis at Egbeda.

Local sources gave their names as one Innocent Solomon and another popularly known as "Uche Way" Solomon is believed to be a police corporal and our sources hint, he may be parading his trade as a policeman at the Old GRA Police Station.
With the mayhem gone, many have lost out, their properties destroyed, their valuables looted.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.