This publication is a reply to an earlier false and misleading publication made on Thursday, the 27th day of May, 2021 in Daily Sun Newspaper, and signed by one Onyechi J.N, titled VILLA ESTATE LAYOUT, OZALLA ABOR PHASE 11, ENUGU, CAVEAT EMPTOR.
We the people of UGWUNANI ABOR COMMUNITY in Udi Local Government Area, Enugu State (hereinafter referred to as Ugwunani) vehemently deny the said publication and denounce same as false, misleading and made in bad faith. To set the record straight, we make the following statement:
The said parcel of land known as UGWUNANI LAND, beside Legacy Estate in Udi Local Government Area, Enugu State, situate at Ugwunani, Udi Local Government Area, Enugu State and is the exclusive property of the people of Ugwunani Abor Community in Udi Local Government Area, Enugu State, who are entitled to same as customary owners, having become owners of same since time immemorial through first settlement.
The people of Ugwunani have been in undisputed possession of the land and have been exercising acts of ownership over same since time immemorial.
Around 1956, dispute arose between Ozor Nwafor of Ugwunani and Edward Nnaji of Nike over a parcel of land, part of which constitutes the subject mater of this publication. The dispute led to the institution of a civil suit between both parties with Suit No. E/46/57 in 1957 in the High Court of the then Eastern Region of Nigeria. Judgment was delivered on Thursday the 20 th day of November, 1958 in favour of Ozor Nwafor & Anor representing the people of Ugwunani. It is instructive to note that during the trial, people from Ozalla Abor testified against Ugwunani.
There was no appeal against the judgment and no one has contested the title of the people of Ugwunani over the said parcel of land.
In 2010, the people of Ozalla Abor started trespassing into the land the subject of this publication and the people of Ugwunani sued them vide Suit No. E/ 19/2012. The Suit was however struck out because the people of Ugwunani failed to comply with the provisions of Order 3(2)(1) of Enugu State Civil Procedure Rules to wit: failure to annex the 1958 judgment earlier referred to. The case was however not refilled because the people of Ozalla abated their acts of trespass.
Before the institution of the above case, dispute over the land had been resolved in favour of the people of Ugwunani in various fora such as: Enugu State Civil Rights & Mediation Centre, Ojebe Ogene Clan, Igwe-in-Council and Oha Abor.
In 2015, the people of Ugwunani exercised act of ownership over the land by relinquishing 150 Plots to the Government of Enugu State of Nigeria, represented by the then Hon. Commissioner for Housing, Engr. Charles Ogbo Asogwa for purposes of developing same into an estate, vide a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) dated the 15 th day of December, 2015. The said estate has long been developed and named LEGACY ESTATE. NOTE THAT no one or group, including the people of Ozalla Abor contested the title or capacity of the people of Ugwunani to give the said land to the Government of Enugu State.
We stress that the so-called Villa Estate evidently forms part of the land covered by the MOU with the State Government. We want to, at this juncture, stress and with resounding emphasis to the general public that, to the full knowledge of Ozalla Abor, the Ugwunani Abor Community had entered into the MoU with the Government of Enugu State. The Traditional Ruler of Abor Ancient Community (comprising of Ugwunani and Ozalla), HRH Igwe Chukwudi Ngwudile (Agodom Ill of Abor) was part of those that executed the said MoU.
The earlier false publication signed by Onyechi J.N. was motivated by his selfish desire to benefit and reap where he and his ilks did not sow, to wit: desire to benefit from the proposed Memorandum of Understanding between Ugwunani and the Enugu State Housing Corporation in respect of the land, subject matter of this publication.
We have it on good authority that the said Onyechi J.N. and a couple others like him do not represent the good people of Ozalla who have since desisted from interfering with Ugwunani’s ownership of the land the subject matter of this publication. The infamous, provocative and malicious publication is the product of some mischievous and desperate persons, and done with worst intentions, calculated at disparaging the good people of Ugwunani Abor, the Government of Enugu State and some persons of good reputation, as well as, fanning the embers of disunity between Ugwunani and Ozalla Abor Communities.
We deny the allegation of fact in paragraph 5 of the malicious and false publication by Onyechi J.N. No pre-action notice was served on Ugwunani as alleged. There is no such office as Commissioner for Enugu State Housing Development Corporation and our cursory investigation clearly revealed that no pre-action notice was served on the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation.
We commend the Elders and Stakeholders of Ozalla Abor Community who had earlier distanced themselves on behalf of Ozalla Abor Community from this act and had strongly condemned this malicious and erroneous publication aimed at bamboozling the general public into disparaging Enugu State Government as well as the hard-earned reputation of the person of Engr. Chukwuemelie Agu, the General Manager of Enugu State Housing Development Corporation.
We have in compliance with the due dictates of legal practice, forwarded a copy of the offending publication to our legal team for its study for the purpose of ensuring that the needful is quickly done.
Ngwudile Chibuzor Ignatius Aneke