The family of Francis Ohanele from Umuebubem, Amuzi in Ndiuhu, Obowo Local Government Area of Imo State has cried out over how an Uncle, Chief Christian Ogunedo has taken over their father’s compound.
The family accused Ogunedo of forcefully acquiring the ancestral land where they buried their daughter-in-law last Thursday against their wish. They also allege that after living in their premises for over forty (40) years Ogunedo and his kids have almost blocked the entrance to their compound.
Speaking to our reporter, one of the sons of Francis Ohanele; Williams Uche Ohanele, narrated, “for a long time now, we have been suffering some sort of oppression from my Uncle; Christian Ogunedo. Even though we do not bear the same Surname, he is my uncle because we came from the same kindred.
“It all began when my father who was formerly staying in his family compound for certain reasons, move to another place and built his House. He was there for 40 years before he decided to accommodate Igbeaku; the mother of my uncle, Christian Ogunedo who was going through some unfair treatment after her husband died.
“We were living peacefully with them, until my uncle seeing that his children have began growing started claiming some parts of our compound, saying that our father handed it over to him before he died.”We reported the matter to our kinsmen who set up a committee that found him guilty advising him to leave our land “Before then, he had already dug a bore hole there, but the bore refused to spring forth water. Many people seeing that made him understand that it was a sign for him to know that he was doing the wrong thing.
“Even at that, he still did not heed to anybody’s advice, but went ahead to begin farming on the premises, erected shops there, and flouted all the orders given to him by the kindred, community and the autonomous leaders.
“At a point, me and my siblings though it wise to reach out to them and see how we can resolve the issue, but when we meet him, he still maintained that the piece of land belongs to him, reiterating that may father gave it to him.
“Instead of the man to proffer solution to the issue, he went ahead to threaten us, saying that he will report us to a shrine.”He is a diabolic man and there are two or three persons he has had land dispute with which he took them to a shrine and ended up winning the case even when it was so obvious that those lands did not belong to him.
“So due to that someone advised me to report him to a shrine before he does. As I was desperate for the issue to be over soon, I reported him to Ala Ogbaga Shrine on November 2, 2020. The Chief Priest summoned him three times and as he refused the fourth time, the priest, handed him over to the oracle for it to fight the course.
“So since then, the man has been threatening to kill me and even his son, Onyedikachi has joined him in doing so. I avoided home moving to Owerri, rarely visits home again.
“Few days back, I visited the village and discovered that he has used a fence to divide our compound into two, blocking the entrance to our house. I reported it to the Police, but they said they cannot venture into such matter, saying that it is a communal issue.’’
The eldest man in the Ohanele family confirmed all that Williams said, insisting that the land in question belongs to late Francis Ohanele. He also affirmed that it is not the first time Chief Christian Ogunedo is forcefully taking people’s lands away from them.
Speaking, a community leader, and a member of the traditional ruler’s cabinet, High Chief Dr. Sir Cletus .U. Okeke, who the report of the Committee was submitted to stated, “the matter was reported to our community; Umuebubem late last year, and so to be certain about what the truth was, we set up a committee, chaired by Chief Emmanuel Ikekwem who submitted their report early this year.
“The Committee did a good job and recommended in their report that Christian Ogunedo is contesting what does not belong to him, which the greater majority of the community is aware that the land belongs to late Francis Ohanele.
“With such provisions, we asked Ogunedo to toe the line of peace and leave the land for the real owners, which he refused to adhere to.”We condemn such act, but as the community has only legislative powers and not executive power, we cannot do anything to punish him, but can only attest for the victim if he decides to take up the matter in court or any legal organization”.
As the traditional ruler, HRH Eze Innocent Anyanwu , Uhu 1 of Uhu Ndiuhu Autonomous Community was not in town, his Chief of Staff, Nze Obi Donatus Anyanwu, also disclosed that the palace is aware of what is happening and that the king has called the Ogunedo to order, but he has refused to hide to his advice.
Other persons approached were not ready to speak because according to them they feared for their lives because Ogunedo has threatened them if they speak against him.
When we called on the Ogunedo, his son had this to say, “you must bring the community people, when you ask them question I will be there, when you ask them or you ask me, then you hear me or you hear them. We are not doing something of backyard business. Besides I don’t want to be talking on this issue because it was in shrine before my brother’s wife died.
“He is the one who killed my brother’s wife in the shrine. Let him go back to that place and kill the remaining people in the compound if at all the shrine is killing, let the shrine kill more in my family because it has killed my brother’s wife. I don’t know why is bringing the press. He cannot have anything there or he will wake the woman to be living.’’