From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Members of Amumaraokahia village in Adakam Amumara Autonomous Community in Ezinihite Mbaise council in Imo have called on Governor Hope Uzodimma to avert the imminent breakdown of law and order in their community by immediately calling to order the traditional ruler Eze B.O Nwokocha for allegedly commissioning illegal sand dredgers against the mutual agreements between the delegates of the villages and the monarch over the issue of sand dredging in their rivers .
They also allegedly accused the monarch of using thugs and members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra to harass and intimidate members of the community doing legitimate business in the rivers and simply demanding justice for their village.
The members of the community further alleged that while the monarch jettisoned legitimate committee set up by the riverine villages, appointed renegade and violent youths to extort registration fees from the illegal contractors as well as stations the same youths who collects daily tolls on his behalf from tipper truck drivers who go to carry and supply sand from the rivers everyday.
The allegations which were contained in a petition to both governor Hope Uzodimma and the State Commissioner of Police, and signed by Njoku David, President General Amumaraokahia Development Union (Home & Abroad), Osuagwu George , Chairman, Amumaraokahia Dredging Committee, Ogbonna Stanley ,Chairman, Amumaraokahia Village Council. Others were Ikechukwu Ogbonna ,Chairman, Amumaraokahia Youth Association, Okechukwu Nwanguma , Chairman, Lagos State Branch, Amumaraokahia Progressive Union
and , Adolphus Enweremadu, Chairman, Amumara Development Union, Onitsha .
The petition which read : ” We, the undersigned representatives of members of Amumaraokahia village (home and abroad) in Adakam Amumara Autonomous Community in Ezinihite Mbaise LGA, Imo State write to respectfully bring to your attention and to seek your urgent intervention to the brewing crisis in Amumaraokahia village in Adakam Amumara Community, in Ezinihitte Mbaise LGA, Imo State.
They further stated : “The source of this impending crisis is the failure by the traditional ruler of Adakam Amumara community His Highness, Eze O. B. Nwokocha to ensure that the community affairs are managed in a fair, transparent and accountable manner that prevents conflicts by ensuring that the community and not him alone and his few allies benefit from the revenues accruing from sand dredging and other economic activities in Amumaraokahia rivers.
“Currently, in total breach of mutual agreement between the traditional ruler and delegates of the village, and driven by his own greed, the traditional ruler is using some renegade and violent youths in the village (some of whom are feared members of IPOB) to work against the collective interest of the community. This is creating disaffection, tension and threats of resistance by the youth of the village which is likely to lead to a breakdown of law and order.
Your Excellency has been working hard to restore security and peace in Imo State. The activities of Eze Nwokocha is undermining your good efforts in his domain.
We respectfully request you to direct the CP Imo State to call the traditional ruler to order and ensure that the brigands he has employed and deployed to harass and intimidate the members of the restive Community are put in the leash. These brigands include but not limited to the following: Joshua Nwichi, Chibuenyi Nwachukwu, Ginika Nwogu an IPOB member, and Chukwudi Chijioke aka Toniga an IPOB member.
He sidelines the legitimate committee set up by the village which suffers alone the impact of dredging and related activities in their village rivers.
He also uses his appointed renegade and violent youths to extort registration fees from the contractors as well as stations the same youths to be collecting daily tolls from tipper truck drivers who go to carry and supply sand from the rivers everyday. He pockets the whole revenues, a clear act of corruption (embezzlement) contrary to expectations that the revenues would be used for community development. He does not account to the village or the community which he claims he is collecting the revenues for their development.
His agents go about telling the aggrieved villagers that the traditional ruler owns the community and can run it anyway he chooses and nobody can question his authority. They threaten to eliminate anyone who comes on their path.”