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Two men killed over fraudulent land dispute in Ibusa

 

Aside the serial killing of women which has plagued Ibusa since the beginning of 2009, two young men, Mr. Uche Okonji and Mr. Osolonye Asiodu were recently killed and several houses and cars set ablaze at Umuodafe village, Ibusa, Delta State.  We gathered from an eye witness that the killings were related to the fraudulent sale of Odafe isi-uzor, Umuodafe Village Community land by some indigenes of that village.

 

It all started a few years ago when the Delta State Government commenced the construction of the Asaba International Airport and the value of land surrounding the site of the new airport increased tremendously.  This development influenced the unauthorized sale of the community land located near the airport by some indigenes of Odafe isi-uzor.  Unfortunately, the lands were sold below market value. With the financial assistance from Chief Emeka Uchidiuno and other indigenes of Odafe isi-uzor, members of the community were able to engage the services of an Attorney who succeeded in stopping further unauthorized sale of their land.  The community then created a committee headed by Chief Emeka Uchidiuno to supervise and monitor all future sale of the community land for equitable distribution of the proceeds.  This committee succeeded in recovering =N=30,000,000.00 (thirty million naira or two hundred thousand dollars) from some of the individuals who bought the land previously sold below its worth.

 

It was reported that the committee accounted for only =N=13,000,000.00 or $87,000.00  of the =N=30,000,000.00. This resulted in the dissolution of the committee and the creation of a new committee headed by Chief Nosike Ikpo.

 

At a meeting of Umuodafe clans, Mr. Uche Okonji confronted Mr. Uwagwu Okolie, (aka ‘POPE’) a member of the dissolved committee requesting that he and his cohort account for the entire sum.  Fight ensued and the meeting ended abruptly without any resolution.  Later, on the same day at about 8:00 p.m. Pope and his cronies including one Mr. Augustine Uwajeh (aka ‘AC Charchar’) shot and killed Uche Okonji at his home in the presence of his father. They fled the town immediately after committing the murder. This ignited riot and protest amongst the youths who set ablaze several houses and vehicles belonging to certain members of the community believed to be involved in the conspiracy of the fraudulent land sale.  It took the intervention of the Nigerian Police and the Army to quell the situation.

 

Few days later, on Thursday, October 14, 2010 Pope and his gang returned at about 12:00 midnight and shot and killed Mr. Osolonye Asiodu also at his home in the presence of his wife and children and went into hiding.  Again, the youths protested and destroyed more properties.  We also gathered that the protesting youths carried Osolonye’s corpse and placed it at the gate to Mr. Fred (Onwa) Ajuduah’s residence for a few hours as he is believed to be among the conspirators of the fraudulent land sale of the community.

The police have declared Pope, AC char-char and their cohorts wanted, and have also encouraged members of the community to volunteer any information that would lead to their arrest.  Uche Okonji was buried on Saturday, October 16th, and Osolonye Asiodu will be buried on Friday, November 26th, 2010.

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