IDUMUJE-UGBOKO CRISIS: NED NWOKO IS INNOCENT.
By Prince Walters O. U. Eziashi
It has become important to let the world know the true picture of events in Idumuje-Ugboko from 2015 to date (2020) considering the wicked falsehood being fed the public particularly the current media propaganda by certain individuals aimed at tarnishing the enviable image and track record of an illustrious son of Idumuje-Ugboko (Prince Ned Nwoko). A man destined by God to put smiles on the faces of not only indigenes of Idumuje-Ugboko but mankind in general.
Here are the FACTS OF THE MATTER ON THE IDUMUJE -UGBOKO LAND/KINGSHIP ISSUE.
On the 16th of March 2015 an illustrious son of Idumuje-Ugboko Kingdom, Hon. Prince Ned Nwoko applied to HRM Obi Albert O. Nwoko III; JP; MON and the Kingdom through his law firm, Linas International Limited requesting 90-Hectare land to add-up to the 33 hectares earlier given to him for establishment of a Diary farm, an International Standard Golf Course and a Sports University (STARS UNIVERISTY, IDUMUJE-UGBOKO).
A general meeting (Izu-Ani) was convened in April 2015 by the Obi in consultation with the Chiefs as tradition demands.
After elaborate deliberations on the development values the projects would bring to Idumuje -Ugboko, the entire community resolved amongst other decisions that:
1. That the request be approved and the king (Obi) should communicate approval in writing to Linas International Limited through Hon. Prince Ned Nwoko since the request came in writing.
2. That the Kingdom will not sell land to Linas International Limited but to go into partnership with the company using the land as the Kingdom’s investment in the partnership.
3. That the land to be allocated should be mapped out from the kingdom development land and that the tenant-farmers on the land should compensated.
4. That a Committee comprising representatives of the four (4) federating villages, the development Union be set up to be known as the Enlarged Land Allocation Committee.
The only Terms of Reference of the Committee which was headed by the Iyase (Traditional Prime Minister and Mouthpiece of the kingdom) was to work out modalities for the implementation of the decision of the Kingdom, locate and communicate the location of the piece/parcel of land and raise a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Linas and Idumuje-Ugboko Kingdom.
The MoU includes among other things that 40% equity in the university belongs to Idumuje-Ugboko
The king (Obi) thereafter, wrote to Linas International Limited communicating the decisions of the Kingdom in a letter dated 10th April 2015 through Hon. Prince Ned Nwoko.
It is worthy of note that this area of Idumuje-Ugboko land which covers from the Community boundary from Onicha-Ugbo through to Igbodo and Umunede communities was agreed to be earmarked by the community for development project as a consensus judgement was entered into in 1969 between Onicha-Ugbo and Idumuje-Ugboko at the High Court of the Midwest.
This followed a legal battle between the two Communities of Onicha-Ugbo and Idumuje-Ugboko which lasted thirteen (13) years (1956 – 1969).
It was resolved that anyone can farm on the land without cultivating cash crops as the community may choose any particular section of the land for development purposes and the farmers should vacate the land occupied without compensation.
At a stakeholders’ meeting on 11th July, 2015, Prince Ned Nwoko took time to explain in details the work he has done towards the university/Golf projects and the commitment of the entire community.
One of the stakeholders present expressed delight and support, eulogizing the qualities of Prince Ned Nwoko and thanked him for his patriotic initiatives.
The meeting therefore approved the proposal and mandated the then President-General of the community Bennet Odor and his National Executive to liaise with Prince Ned Nwoko and Linas International to ensure that the project do not fail.
The development union wrote to Aniocha North Local Government Council confirming the community support for the project and the allocation of the land for the proposed project.
Prince Ned Nwoko and Linas International Ltd in line with the recommendations of the Izu-Ani Land Allocation Committee has paid compensation to genuine tenant-farmers on the land as well as paid the mandatory allocation committee expenses.
It is on record as a proven fact that all Idumuje-Ugboko farmers had been compensated by Hon. Prince Ned Nwoko of which over N180 million was spent for compensation. The idea for the settlement was to stop them from farming at the golf course land, within the STARS university.
Payment was made as recent as March 2020 to some of the farmers and anyone with genuine claims of having been omitted is obliged to come forward.
It is worthy of note that in deference to the implementation of the peace agreement brokered by the Obi of Owa kingdom, HRM Emmanuel Efeizomor and other royal fathers in Anioma area, to withdraw all cases in court including the land dispute, Prince Ned Nwoko has fully complied.
Though most of the farmers are not the original owners of the land as they are itinerant crop cultivators and strangers farming on Idumuje Ugboko ancestral land, they were paid compensation for peace and harmony, sequel to a request by the then Obi of the kingdom, the late Obi Albert Okwuwadiegwu Nwoko III.
Also the farmers at the neigbouring Onicha-Ugbo kingdom had been paid over N40 million and negotiations are ongoing with a view to legally acquire more of the land for the expansion of the golf course. If any of the farmers around the University still has any issue to settle, such person should come forward and approach the authorities of the University project instead of casting unnecessary aspersions on the social media.
It bears emphasis to state that all documents relating to the ownership of the land where the STARS university is located, were duly and legally acquired by Hon. Prince Ned Nwoko.
A copy of handwritten acknowledgement on behalf of the Kingdom by Prof. Somayina Gabriel Nwoko, OON is available.
Having met all traditional requirements Linas International Ltd wrote an Application for Customary Right of Occupancy to Aniocha North Local Government Council, which was granted.
The proposed university project work is ongoing. Structures are under construction at the proposed university site to meet the National University Commission (NUC) Basic Mark who has done a first official verification visit between 9th and 12th of March, 2020 and will hopefully return for the second and final visit soon to ensure early take off of the university with approval by NUC, possibly with 2020/2021 academic session in mind.
GENESIS OF IDUMUJE UGBOKO CRISIS.
Crisis started in the community when Prince Chukwunonso Justin Nwoko, a son of the king (Obi) appeared on the scene with a letter purported to have been authored by the king (Obi) feigning ignorance and denial of all the activities leading to the allocation of land for the establishment of the Golf Course and University.
This letter of purported denial was dated 12th August, 2015. Members of the community were shocked to see the denial as circulated by Prince Chukwunonso Justin Nwoko, Ejimofor Fredrick Nwoko, Richard Obiajulu Nwoko, Dennis Uwadiegwu Nwoko and their agents/privies.
Notable indigenes requested to consult with the king to ascertain the authenticity of the letter of 12/8/2015 but Prince Chukwunonso Justin Nwoko and his agents used their closeness to the aged king to block everybody including the Principal Chiefs from seeing or consulting with the king.
This development led to a petition dated 14th September, 2015 to the Commissioner of Police, Delta State Command by Prince Walters Eziashi, as former President-General of the community development union (2008 – 2012) to investigate the two letters purported to have been authored by the king.
The petition demanded thorough scrutiny of both letters with a view to unraveling the culprits and possibly prosecute them to serve as deterrent to other criminally minded individuals who may wish to ferment trouble in the community.
The Police did a diligent investigation and on the 24th day of February, 2016, Prince Chukwunonso Justin Nwoko, Ejimofor Nwoko, Richard Obiajulu Nwoko and others were indicted.
The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) confirmed police indictment and recommended that the culprits be prosecuted and they were accordingly charged before Chief Magistrate Court 1. Asaba Charge No SMC/420C/20016.
They were granted bail by court who also has revoked the bail because they jumped bail since 2017.
Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko and others in January of 2016 approached the Issele-Uku High Court to challenge the decisions of the community by suing Aniocha North Local Government Council, Prince Ned Nwoko and Linas International claiming that the process of the land allocation was false.
On the 18th of June 2019 the Court in a Ruling awarded a cost against the Claimants (Chukwunonso and others) to the 2nd and 3rd Defendants (Prince Ned Nwoko and Linas International Ltd) and the 1st defendant name was struck out of the case.
It is also worthy of note that the 4th Claimant (Prince Edwin Izeonyeunor Nwoko) in the said case withdrew from the case via an affidavit he deposed to at Issele-Uku High Court claiming he was deceived by Prince Chukwunonso Justin Nwoko and co into believing that the process was false.
He said upon further investigation he realized that Prince Chukwunonso and co were trending in falsehood fermenting trouble and impeding development against the town.
Prince Chukwunonso Justin Nwoko and co has overtime made false accusation through several petitions to the Inspector-General of Police against innocent indigenes of the Kingdom whom they perceive as enemies that must be silenced by whatever means.
Prince Richard Obiajulu Nwoko, Prince Ejimofor Nwoko, Prince Chukwunonso Justin Nwoko through their Counsel ESENWAH & ESENWAH wrote a two-page petition to the Inspector-General of Police dated 18th October, 2015, accusing Linas International Ltd, Prince Ned Nwoko and others of forgery of Obi of Idumuje-Ugboko signature, Harassment, Intimidation and Threat to Life of Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko.
The Police arrested and interrogated the accused and after diligent investigations, exonerated the accused as the allegations were false.
PRINCE NBANEFO NWOKO Chambers in a letter dated 17th March, 2017, wrote another six-page petition on behalf of Prince Chukwunonso Justin Nwoko to the Inspector-General of Police against Prince Ned Nwoko, Chief Christopher Ogwu, Prince Walters Eziashi, Kennedy Iloh, Bennet Odor, alleging Harassment, forceful entry and desecration of the Palace.
The above listed accused were invited and detained by the Police who later granted them bail. Investigations were carried out and at the end the accused were also proved innocent.
DEATH OF THE KING.
HRM Obi Albert Nwoko III; JP; MON passed on – joined his ancestors on 6th February, 2017, under questionable circumstances which is still under investigations by the police.
Without recourse to the customs, tradition and culture of the Idumuje clan as embedded in the 1937 Intelligence Report of Idumuje Clan by R.B. Karr, Prince Chukwunonso, Prince Richard, Ejimofor and Barr. Mbanefo buried the king same day (6/2/2017) without the five principal chiefs present.
Prince Chukwunonso Justin also appointed himself king within an hour of the purported burial, forcing a 90year old man from Atuma village one Mr. Odinfono who holds no traditional title to sit him on a chair he claims was traditional stool as king.
This action is not only an abomination in Idumuje-Ugboko but in the entire Anioma land. This further polarized the kingdom from the criminalities of Prince Chukwunonso and his cabal.
Thereafter, Prince Chukwunonso the self-appointed king and his cabal began their reign of terror.
First, if anyone disagrees with him, he ostracizes the person from the Kingdom. He ostracized Prof Prince Somayina Gabriel Nwoko, OON a retired Professor of Agricultural Economics, University of Ibadan and the Community/Palace Secretary who later died under mysterious circumstances.
Next he purportedly ostracized the oldest man and immediate past head of the Umu-Nwoko Royal family who owns the crown he purportedly took forcefully, Late Diokpa Prince Onwuamaonyeukwu Esuzor Nwoko, Hon, Prince Ned Nwoko, Prince Danny Nwoko, Prince Akaba Nwoko and forty-one (41) other members of the family.
The only crime of these individuals was that they tried to redirect him and his gang from their acts of banditry and terrorism.
He equally claimed he has ostracized the Iyase and Odogwu and Crown Prince Solomon Eziokwubundu Nwabuokei Nwoko (the Obi Designate and Real descendant of Nwoko), Prince Uche Nwoko (another claimant to the throne), Prince Walters Onyeisi Ugochukwu Eziashi.
On May 18 – 25, 2017, Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko and his gang in a terrorist frenzy imported thugs and native doctors into Idumuje-Ugboko kingdom. The native doctors were to prepare charms to make the thugs invincible as they unleashed mayhem by attacking different homes, individuals and destroying properties.
This led to the murder in cold blood of a non-indigene motorcyclist, Cyprian Kumiolun a native of Benue State in front of Idumuje-Ugboko palace.
It will be noted also that one Mr. Kennedy Iloh died as a result of the mayhem unleashed on him by thugs who kidnapped and took him to the palace where he was subjected to torture.
The thugs wielded dangerous weapons including guns, machetes, battle axes, daggers etc.
The Police have since invited the suspects and the matters are in various courts of competent jurisdiction including the case of terrorism against the suspects in CHARGE NO. FHC/ABJ/11/19 instituted by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja.
The suspects in the case include: Prince Chukwunonso Justin Nwoko, Prince Fredrick Ejimofor Nwoko, Prince Dennis Uwadiegwu Nwoko, Ndudi Chiejume, Onwochei Agiliga Light, Raymond Omesiete, Adim Nwafor, Okey Ifejoku, Azuka Mukolu, Omoye Esonye and Aikhomo Omezi.
It will be noted that a bench warrant was issued on 21st March, 2019 by the Federal High Court, Abuja against the suspects for failure to appear in court severally.
Three of the suspects: Onwochei Light Agiliga, Aikhomu Omezi were arrested late 2019 and Okey Ifejoku who was equally arrested on 21st January, 2020 have all been arraigned in court and granted bail two weeks ago.
In a case with Suit No. HCI/6M/17, Between: MR, IIKHOMU OMEZI (APPLICANT AND INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE AND 5 OTHERS, filed at the Delta State High Court, Issele-Uku, the Judge in his judgement delivered on Tuesday 12th December, 2017 ordered among other things that an investigation be carried out by the relevant authorities who should investigate the murder allegations and possibly prosecute the culprits.
Several Warrants of Arrest have been issued by Courts of competent jurisdictions against Prince Chukwunonso Justin Nwoko and his cabal since 2017 till date from the Chief Magistrate Court, Asaba, Chief Magistrate Court, Issele-Uku and the Federal High Court, Abuja.
During the weird siege by Prince Chukwunonso Justin Nwoko and his cabal, attempts were made by their thugs to set Hon. Prince Ned Nwoko’s compound and the proposed university site ablaze but for the intervention of security agencies drafted to the compound and its environ.
Between the mayhem of May 18 – 25, 2017 till date, there have been several peace efforts to address the crisis but Prince Chukwunonso Justin Nwoko and his group have rebuffed all such peace moves.
First of such peace move was by the Aniocha North Traditional Rulers Council.
There was another peace move by the Assistant Inspector-General of Police Zone 5, Benin-City, on 1st June, 2017.
Then followed by a peace arrangement by the Obi of Idumuje-Unor Obi Charles Chukwunweike Anyasi III (the clan head) which never held because Prince Chukwunonso Justin and his group refused to honour the invitation.
Another peace effort was by Anioma Congress. Some members of Umu-Omorhusi family under Prince Danny Nwoko and Prince Edwin Nwoko made moves to bring peace but rather than listening to these his uncles and kinsmen, Prince Chukwunonso Justin and his cabal ostracized Prince Danny Nwoko and members of his peace committee from the family and threatened to deal with anyone who associates with them.
The latest of such peace efforts is HRM Dr E. Efezomor 11, the Obi of Owa, led committee of Traditional Rulers.
As at today there are over fifteen lawsuits pending in different courts and the people involved are:
1. SMC/420c/2016 COP V CHUKWUNONSO NWOKO & 2ORS (CRIMINAL)
2. MI/29c/2017 COP V CHUKWUNONSO NWOKO & 2ORS(CRIMINAL).
3. FHC/ABJ/CR/11/19 FGN V CHUKWUNONSO NWOKO & 10ORS (CRIMINAL).
4. HCI/2/2016 RICHARD OBIAJULU NWOKO & 4ORS V NED NWOKO & ANO.
5. HCI/21/2019 SUNDAY BANYE & 4ORS V NED NWOKO & ANO.
6. HCI/23/2019 DENNIS NDUBUISI & 3ORS V NED NWOKO & ANO.
7. AGM/M1/2019 PRINCE CHUKWUNONSO NWOKO V IGP & 6ORS.
8. AG/2M/2019 PRINCE DENNIS UWADIEGWU NWOKO V IGP & 6ORS.
9. AG/3M/2019 PRINCE FREDRICK EJIMOFOR NWOKO V IGP & 6ORS.
10. HCK/61/2018 CHRISTOPHER OGWU & 18ORS V CHUKWUNONSO NWOKO & 5ORS.
11. CA1/A/400C/17 COP V FELIX MBANEFO NWOKO (CRIMINAL).
12. EHC/M/74/2017 MARTIN NWOKO & 4ORS V IGP & 5ORS.
13. HCI/6M/17 IKHOMU OMEZI V IGP & 5ORS.
14. HCI/4M/2018 CHUKWUNONSO NWOKO & 2ORS V IGP & 5ORS.
Please note that Prince Ned Nwoko is neither a Plaintiff nor Claimant in any of the cases. Majority of these cases were instituted by Prince Chukwunonso Justin Nwoko, directly and indirectly.
Finally, let it be on record that It is the height of wickedness and injustice for anybody to accuse Hon Prince Ned Nwoko of any wrong-doing in the bare faced terrorism acts and kingship tussle in Idumuje Ugboko.
He has no involvement whatsoever on the pending cases before the courts particularly at the Federal High Court Abuja as he is neither a complainant nor the FDPP or Attorney-General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who recommended the prosecution of the suspects.
Justice is what the people seek and justice MUST be done.
Prince Ned Nwoko remains a peace lover, passionate about the well-being of his people.
His community development efforts are matchless as a large hearted philanthropist.
Public opinion had since acknowledged that Prince Ned Nwoko, the founder of STARS University and Royal Gulf Course is a responsible and responsive Anioma foremost son enamoured with the peace and development of his environment and beyond.
This is the key reason he decided to site the University in his community.
The University is projected to bring development and raise the economic fortunes of the people of Idumuje -Ugboko, Anioma and Delta in general which would be there for the benefit of generations yet unborn.
On this note however, it is pertinent to advise that people should stop creating unnecessary atmosphere of dispute when there is none.
He is a refined international lawyer and eminent philanthropist with integrity, self-discipline and peaceful orientation.
We hence call on all to support him in the development of Idumuje Ugboko, Anioma, Delta state and Nigeria in general.
PRINCE WALTERS O.U. EZIASHI
PRESIDENT-GENERAL (2008 – 2012)
IDUMUJE-UGBOKO DEVELOPMENT UNION (WORLDWIDE).
Culled from Anioma Voice