ABS Correspondent, Ejike Abana who visited the land in question, reports that the land tussle has ignited violence, degenerating to pockets of destruction in the area.
The land in contention called Nka land is about sixty four thousand and seventy nine acres.
Narrating his own account, a community leader from Ogwari, Mr. Ikechukwu Ibesi-Udeze explained that the land was leased by Ogwari to a former Traditional Ruler of Nsugbe, Igwe J.C. Anyansi in February 19, 1963, duly signed by elders as at that the time, pointing out that the last time the Igwe paid for the lease on the said land was in 1974, while the lease agreement terminated in 1982.
He added that in 1983, a letter was written to Igwe Anyansi, communicating him that Ogwari had taken back their land, to which he agreed and affirmed in writing, after which it was handed over to Egwuatu family of Ogwari for farming purposes.
According to him, the land was later sold in error to one Hyginus Ufele, who later came to Ogwari and ratified his right of occupancy with the community in 2005.
Mr. Ibesi-Udeze further alleged that to their amazement, some people started to sell parcels of the the land without the knowledge and consent of rightful owners of the land, advising those who purportedly bought the lands to stop further development as the matter is already in court.
Also speaking, seventy eight years old Mrs. Obiageli Egbuche who introduced herself as the first daughter of late Egwuatu, Chief Charles Ika, son of Raphael Ika who was part of the signatories and the Chairman, National Executive Committee of Ogwari Community, Chief James Nzekwesiliobi, corroborated Mr. Ibesi-Udeze’s narrative, calling on those who allegedly encroached on the land, to vacate immediately.
Speaking to the ABS on phone one Emeka Ojukwu who introduced himself as Chairman of Landlords’ Association in Egwuatu Estate, claimed that they conducted investigation before purchasing the land, as his house is already about six years old, revealing that on the 3rd day of April, 2021, groups of people invaded the estate, threatened them and destroyed some property which prompted them to take legal actions.
Also speaking on phone, Mr. Perry Wikky who said he is the eldest beneficiary of the estate alleged that there is a will in thier family with registered survey plan, proving their late grand father as the actual buyer of the land.
While dissociating themselves from the activities of Ibesi-Udeze and others, the National Chairman of Ogwari Community, Engineer Okey Dibua, accompanied by some elders of the community, countered some of the things said by Ibesi-Udeze and claimed that the land in question is jointly owned by Agbalagbu and Ogwari.
In their reactions ,the Chairman Agbalagbu Land Management Committee Chief Ifeanyichukwu Tabugbo and Vice Chairman, Ogwari Land Management Committee, Pastor Achuwa Ifejika, reiterated that there is no problem between Agbalagbu and Ogwari, stressing that whoever is dealing with individual does so at his own peril.
They advised people who they described as land speculators to stop henceforth and wait till the matter is decided in court.