Women from Okuzu-Mbana village, Oba, Idemili North local government area of Anambra State, have protested against the alleged forceful takeover and sale of their farmlands by youths of the community. They also complained about the “constant beating and intimidation’’ of their husbands by the said youths. The women, armed with placards containing different inscriptions, took to the streets, chanting songs depicting their displeasure over the development. They called on Governor Willie Obiano, the Inspector General of Police and other relevant stakeholders to intervene in order to avert possible bloodshed.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards read: “We say no to indiscriminate sale of our farmlands, constant torture of our husbands. We also call on Obiano, IGP to come to our help.” The Woman Leader of the community, Ngozi Ibeto, who spoke on behalf of the protesters, alleged that the trio of Ukadike Ibeabuchi, Benneth Chibeze and Maduako Emeka were encouraging youths of the village to sell farmlands belonging to different families. “These youths would sell a piece of land to somebody and later, they would sell the same land to another person, thereby causing problems in our community. This scenario, if left unchecked, will result in a situation where Okuzo-Mbana will not have farmland again. “Our husbands, who are the elders of the community, had been warning them to stop selling people’s lands. That’s the crime they committed. So, from time to time the youths would regroup and arrest our husbands, detain them in the bush and torture them so that they would not talk about the land again. “We call on Governor Willie Obiano, the IGP and other relevant authorities to come to our help, because, we foresee impending crises and possible bloodshed, if these youths are not called to order,” she added. A 72-year-old Godwin Egbochukwu, who spoke on behalf of the elders allegedly tortured by the youths, said that members of the community who were opposed to the illegal sale of their farmlands were no longer feeling safe because of the activities of the youths. “The youths are in the habit of selling people’s lands, and we are warning them to stop because their activities have been causing crises in the community. But instead of listening to our advice, they resorted to beating us. “On March 30, the youths arrested me alongside Dennis Ejiofor, Stephen Aniemenam, Jeff Okoye and Izuchukwu Olise. They tortured us before our wives and our children, before they took us to the bush, where they detained us for hours before one Ukadike Ibeabuchi came and directed them to leave us. “But they warned us not to interfere with their activities or report the matter to the police,” he said. When contacted, Ukadike Ibeabuchi, one of those accused of backing the youths to sell land and beat the elders, denied the allegations. “I am the General Chairman of Okuzu village. Benneth Chibueze is the Administrative Ichie in the entire Oba community, while Emeka Maduako is aspiring to replace the late Igwe Ezenwa, as traditional ruler. How could this class of individuals, who are leaders of the community, encourage youths to sell people’s lands or beat elderly men? “These people casting aspersions on us were sponsored by our opponents. “Could they mention any body whose land I or any of the persons they mentioned sold?’’