The people of Umunamu village, Okwe community in Onuimo Local Government of Imo State have urged the police to save them from their kinsman and leader of the Biafra Independent Movement (BIM) and Movement for Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Ralph Uwazuruike.
They accused him of using members of his militia to dispossess them of and evict them from their ancestral land because of his plan to build a university for the pro-Biafran group.
In a letter addressed to the Area Commander of Okigwe Area Command of the Imo State Police Command, Mr. Uzowuru Ifeanyi and Mr. Patrick Uwazuruike, the village chairman and secretary, the people said they had suffered hardship in the hands of the MASSOB leader.
The letter alleged that Uwazuruike recruited youths as his militia, whom he used as foot soldiers “to perpetuate evil, usurp power, deny people their rights and seize people’s land without regards to the rule of law.”
It added: “Despite his action of forcefully seizing our ancestral land on July 2, 2019, a land that measured about 10 square kilometres, he returned to continue his usual eviction and takeover of our farmlands and homes with a flimsy reason that he is building a private university.
“As law-abiding citizens, we resolved not to take the law into our hands despite the intimidation and threats we are going through in the hands of Chief Uwazuruike.
“We call on you sir, to use your good office to salvage this situation and save us from being tenants in our ancestral homes.”
The people appealed to the police to ensure that the influx of young men with weapons at Onuimo in the name of MASSOB should be checked before they turned the area into a graveyard.
Reacting, Uwazuruike advised his kinsmen to go to court if they are not happy with his acquisition of land.
He said he purchased the land lawfully and listed 10 families that sold their land to his organisation in 2010.
The MASSOB leader, speaking through the group’s Director of Information, Chris Mocha, said the protest was sponsored by a few individuals at Umunamu village, Owerre-Okwe in Onuimo Local Government where MASSOB’s Homeland University, and Homeland University Teaching Hospital (HUTH) were being constructed by BIM-MASSOB.
Uwazuruike noted that his organisation followed due processes in acquiring the landed property before it was handed over to him in the presence of the traditional ruler of Okwe, the late HRH Eze E. A. Okonkwo.
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