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Enugu Community Drags Monarch To Court Over Alleged Intimidation, Harassment

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(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Some natives of Igga Autonomous Community, in Uzo-Uwani Council  Area of Enugu State, South- East Nigeria, have dragged the traditional ruler of the area Igwe Herbert Ukuta, to court over his continuous alleged harassment and intimidation of the indigenes.

The plaintiff, namely, Anthony Okonkwo, Benedict Okoye, Celestine Nnachetam and Richard Okoye, said they decided to  approach a High Court sitting in Enugu to seek protection, as well as asked it to stop the defendants, including the police from further harassment.

Equally joined in the suit No E/442/2020, as defendants are one Inspector Paul Igwe, the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State and the Attorney General of Enugu State.

They filed a motion on notice brought pursuant to Order 2 Rule 1,2,3,4 and 5 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure, Rules, 2009 and Section 34 (1), 35, 43 and 46 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.

The defendants  sought a declaration that “the threat, harassment and intimidation of the applicants by the 2nd and 3rd respondents at the behest of the 1st and 4th respondents are wrongful, unlawful and a gross violation of the Fundamental rights of the applicants as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended).

“A declaration that the threats to arrest and detain the applicant by the 2nd and 3rd respondents at the behest of the 1st and 4th respondents unless they comply with the directive to return the proceeds of the agreement to sell the Udaba Imabolo or Egbili parcel of land situate, lying and being at Igga Autonomous Community of Uzo- Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State are wrongful, unlawful and amounted to an arm twisting of the applicants and a gross violation of the applicants fundamental right to property as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.

They also sought “An order of the honourable court restraining the respondents, their agents, servants, hirings and privies, whosoever or however called or described from further threats, harassments, intimidation and arrests in the circumstances of the agreement to sell the aforesaid Udaba Imabolo or Egbili parcel of land.

“An order of this honourable court for the payment of ten million naira as general and exemplary damages against the 1st and 4th respondents and in favour of the applicants for violating the fundamental rights of the applicants.”

They are  equally asking for An order of the honourable court restraining the respondents, their agents, servants, hirings and privies, whosoever or however called or described from further threats, harassments, intimidation and arrests in the circumstances of the agreement to sell the aforesaid Udaba Imabolo or Egbili parcel of land.

“An order of this honourable court for the payment of ten million naira as general and exemplary damages against the 1st and 4th respondents and in favour of the applicants for violating the fundamental rights of the applicants.”

Also in a 5-page written address by their lawyer, Chief Okenna Agubuzu, the indigenes reiterated their claims that “they have been directed to return, reject, and refuse money already accepted by them,” stressing that such directive “creates the impression that they are sub-human beings.”

Trouble had begun  following a petition addressed to the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State, Abdurahaman Amad,  accusing the plaintiffs and some other members of the community, of illegally selling of  some portion of land belonging to three communities – Igga, Ojjor and Ogurugu of Uzo-Uwani Council Area.

The petition was addressed to the police from the Chambers of Ikeyi Ogakwu on behalf of Igwe Herbert Ukuta, the traditional ruler of Igga Community, Amuche Raphael, the President-General of Igga Community, His Royal Highness, Igwe Emmanuel Umunna, the traditional ruler of Ojjor Community, His Royal Highness, Igwe Emmanuel Egwuaba of Ogurugu community, among others.

They termed the action of the plaintiffs “obtaining goods or property by false,” stressing “it is a crime where an individual makes misrepresentation in order to obtain the property of another.”

African Examiner gathered that the development has been a source of worry to most  indigenes of the locality who said allowing the wrangling to linger will do more harm than good to the area.


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