Operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Responses Team (IRT) have arrested six people for allegedly demolishing a building, which was under construction, at gunpoint in Emene-Nike area of Enugu State.
Police alleged that the suspects were part of members of a land grabbing syndicate, which had been disturbing Emene-Nike community for long.
The suspects are Ikechukwu Nomeh, Tochukwu Nnamani, Uchenna James, Victor Asigah, Agustin Tochukwu and Anthony Nwobodo.
The police disclosed that three locally-made guns, a sledge hammer and a knife were recovered from the suspects.
A police source said: “Aside from terrorising the community, these men are also in the business of intimidating and dispossessing land owners of their properties within the area.”
The suspects were said to have become persons of interest to the police, after they allegedly attempted to dispossess Mrs. Ngozi Egbe of her property.
“They demolished a section of her building under construction at gunpoint,” alleged the police.
Operatives went after the suspects following a petition to the IG, Mohammed Adamu, detailing the activities of the suspects over landed property and how they had become a threat to members of the community.
Fielding questions from operatives, the suspects revealed that N100,000 was paid to them by their leader, Chief Nomeh, who instructed them to ensure the building was brought down.
One of the suspects, Nnamani, said: “Chief Nomeh consulted me that he needed my assistance that someone has encroached on his land. According to chief, the land was under litigation. Chief’s lawyer had earlier advised him to stop anyone from building on the land. Chief begged me to get some boys to help him demolish the building.”
Nnamani explained that it was because of chief’s pleas that made him to contact Uchenna James. After a meeting with James, the latter said he would collect N70,000 to carry out the demolition.
Nnamani went to chief, collected N100,000 and handed N70,000 to James.
James said that to carry out the act, he had to hire seven other men.
He said: “I employed seven boys and they demolished the building with a Monday hammer. I don’t know if any of them went with a gun, but I know one of the boys I hired is a member of a vigilante group. He has access to the vigilante gun.”
Chief Nomeh, 50, said that the land, which was in dispute, belonged to his father.
He said: “After the death of my father, our neighbouring community started struggling with me to take over the possession of the land. By 2005, I took members of the neighbouring community to court, and the person they sold the land to. This land has a Certificate of Occupancy (C/O) from the Enugu State government. Members of Nkupor Nike community, who I took to court, had sold over 20 plots of land from the over 40 acres of land belonging to my father. While the matter was in court, I stopped people from going into our land to build, last year November, Mrs. Ngozi Egbe came and started clearing the land with caterpillar.
“I told her everything about the land, including injunction obtained from the court, but she refused to listen. What she did then was to scare me away from the land with thugs, while she continued to build day and night. I invited police from Enugu State Criminal Investigation Department. When the woman came to the site, she vowed to show me that the police were in her control. She went to the office of the state commissioner of police and soon all her workers were released. I then had to contract one of my friends, Tochukwu Nnamani. I explained everything to him. He got boys and pulled down the building.”
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