By AFAM Echi
All may not be well with the family of Sunday Ebighi of Nempi community in Oru West Local Government Area of Imo State as he allegedly suffers from serious violation and intimidation in the hands of one Christopher Obioha who had sought to dispossess him of his family land.
The said Obioha is alleged to have actively used the police to seize from Ebighi a strategically located parcel of land he was said to have inherited from his forebears. Efforts made by the later to protect himself and family through court actions to stop his assailant yielded no result as the man had ignored court processes and instead used police from another division to incarcerate the Ebighi again.
A statement of claim glimpsed by Daily Nigerian Horn filed by the victim indicated that the plaintiff (Sunday Ebighi) and the Defendant (Christopher Obioha) are from different lineages from Ubahawa and Umuezike villages in Ele community of Oru West. Coming from different villages, the statement noted further that they do not own any land in common from time immemorial and beyond human history.
Daily Nigerian Horn further gathered that the said Obioha also cracked down on co-villagers who came out to speak against the matter and who were prepared to serve as witnesses.
In one case, Chief Philip Udegbulem who spoke out against the injustice and who was suspected to be supporting the victim, had policemen attacking his residence in the early hours of the morning around 4am on the 17th July 2019.
It was learnt that when the police invaded his premises and was told that he wasn’t home they didn’t believe it and went ahead to destroy some parts of his building with a view to forcing him out. Other community members in support of Ebighi who could not stand the police brutality voted with their legs.
Chief Udegbulam confirmed the destruction of his family house around 4.10am in his absence, stating that those who came were from the State police headquarters but indicated that he has reported the incident in another police station-the Area Command, Omuma who had come and taken photograph of the damage.
He said that his involvement in the matter is that he was prepared to bear witness and would state the truth that Sunday Ebighi as much he knows is the owner of the land. According to him, him and his forebears would have lived there over 150 years.
The business man allegedly using force to snatch the land was reported also to have petitioned the police authorities to clampdown on those opposing his actions. This later situation now caused the law firm of Chief Chima O.C Emeadi & Associates to petition over the alleged unjust treatment of Obioha to his kinsmen.
A paragraph in the petition reads, ‘your complainant/petitioner, in his avowed and ungodly determinations forcefully and unmindfully took over the said ‘Okwu-Ikpa’ land of our clients. In so doing, he actively used the Police Divisions at Mgbidi and Ibiasoegbe respectively, arrested, detained and tortured our poor innocent clients to his whims and caprices and satisfactions. That while our clients were being detained, this complainant herein equally and speedily bulldozed all the economic trees of our clients thereon this land and commenced emergency building.”
The victim secured his freedom and took out an action at the High Court Mgbidi and the Customary Court of Appeal Ubulu during which period the trial court issued a warning that the parties should maintain the status quo.
It was learnt that while these matters are being heard at these various courts the said Obioha again conspired to arraign Ebighi at the Ubulu Magistrate Court, Oru where the Magistrate granted him bail. Not satisfied with the outcome, Obioha again was alleged to have written another petition to the police involving many villagers, home and abroad, who are expressing rejection of his hounding a poor fellow.
The lawyer’s petition to the Police also called for a swift halt to the looming injustice. It said, ‘as a fellow law officer we hope you will swiftly react to this looming injustice as we cannot sit down and watch the rights of our clients being trampled further by the wealthy complainant in any guise. The acts and boastings of the complainant are much more an affront to our law, common sense, equity, good conscience and as well, so primitive, uncouth and barbaric, having no respect for our courts.”
When Daily Nigerian Horn reached out to the State Police Public Relations officer on the issue for his reactions he said that he has not been briefed and promised to follow up on the matter.