Following a downpour recently at Ndiegu Azu village in Ndiegu Achara Autonomous community in Ikwo LGA, the flood has rendered some of the residents homeless after destroying their belongings and occupying their homes.
A victim of the flood, Mr. James Edeh spoke with our reporter who visited the area on that fateful day while it was raining, said the flood suddenly submerged his compound and drowned over 200 chickens after destroying other household assets worth over five hundred thousand naira.
He claimed he and other family members were subjected to such unpleasant condition by some residents of the area led by Hon. (Elder) John Nte, former Caretaker Chairman of Ikwo LGA and presently, Technical Assistant to Ebonyi State Governor who allegedly chased them away from their ancestral home and seize the landed property which they inherited from their parents.
He said by this action, he and all those affected had ignorantly relocated to the area they did not know is waterway and since then have become regular flood victims.
Mr. James while narrating his ordeal disclosed that around 39 years ago, members of the community requested from his family for pieces of land where the secondary school could be established and based on his late father’s magnanimity and the quest for development, the desire was expressly granted with a donation of over twenty hectares of land.
He told us that immediately after the voluntary gift, the place was not only surveyed but also fenced followed by the construction of the institution.
According to him, during the period, his family members both immediate and extended were still occupying their former home that borders the school undisturbed until in the year 1996, shortly after the state creation when unexpectedly Hon. John Andrew Nte and some other residents invaded the compound, took them out forcefully and confiscated the property over the allegation that their home is a communal asset.
He said that after the seizure, they left for their present settlement only to discover later that it situates along the waterways.
He called on the state government and good spirited individuals for intervention to enable them to reclaim their homes to avoid more losses.
Mr. Emmanuel Edeh Oreke, a victim and elder brother of Mr. James corroborated the information given to us and also added that both the land used for the school and their former home were inherited from Late Mr. Oreke Anyigor to Late Eze Akpoke to late Ede Oreke, their great grandfather, grandfather and father respectively and thereby expressed displeasure over the alleged maltreatment meted out to them by Hon John Nte and his cohorts.
Mr. Emmanuel said, “After the donation, we were living peacefully until in the year 1996 when the group of persons led by Mr. John came and ejected us out for their selfish interest.”
According to Mr. Emmanuel, his father’s death was caused by the shock associated with the land seizure.
He said that before the old man’s demise, that he (Late Ede Oreke) went to their former home where he cultivated to check his crops, only for him to get there and found out that all his crops had been damaged by students courtesy of Mr. John Nte’s order.
He alleged that as the octogenarian could not control himself over the loss, he fell down unconsciously and could not regain consciousness until five days later when he passed on.
The two brothers, therefore, appealed that the first survey plan of the school should be utilized so that they could reclaim their home and become free from flood.
In the same vein, Mr. Ekechi Ezenwa and Mr. Oginyi Macellinus, flood victims respectively attributed the construction of Abakaliki/Obubra way by Governor Elechi’s regime where Omeregbe mini bridge which was built than could no longer contain the heavy flow of water experienced in the area presently.
They told us that the water damaged all their belongings including documents while they took refuge within the neighborhood for three days during the incident.
They, therefore, called for expansion of Omeregbe Bridge in order to prevent all the structures within the area from collapsing.
The Traditional Ruler of Ndiegu Echara Autonomous community, His Royal Highness (HRH) Eze Nwakpu Egbe in his version towards the alleged land seizure, told us that the enormous plots where the school was built were willingly given to the community by late Edeh Oreke but later on, some persons who share the same village with the family members connived among themselves and seized their home.
He disclosed that he had mediated in the matter where he advised that since the school had been surveyed and fenced, that the rest portions of the land should be allowed for the family but to his surprise, the people ignored the suggestion.
The Traditional Ruler further advised that government attention should be drawn into the issue so that permanent solution would be made between the two parties.
Hon. (Elder) John Nte when contacted on phone told us that the whole land which comprises both the school and the undeveloped area belong to the entire community, adding that before now, late Oreke’s children had reported the same issue in many offices of the government.
He also disclosed that the community had already given alternative portions to the family members.