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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Enugu demolitions: Kindred families of Amechi Uwani drags Enugu government to human rights commission

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In what could mark the escalation of their consistent demands for justice and respect to the constitutional freedoms of right to own movable and immovable property in their native land within Enugu South Local Government Area Council, the Kindred Families of Amechi Uwani have approached the National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria to seek for redress and immediate halt to the indiscriminate demolitions of their property.

In a PETITION FOR REDRESS REGARDING ALLEGED HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN AMECHI UWANI, ENUGU STATE through the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), the petitioners stated as follows:

“We urgently bring to your attention the alleged grave and ongoing human rights abuses suffered by the Concerned Kindred Families of Amechi Uwani, Enugu South LGA, Enugu State. Led by Sir Richard Nnabuchi Nnamani, KJW (Onodugo), these families claim to endure egregious injustices at the hands of various entities, including the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA), and certain officers of the Enugu State Police Command.

To the best of our knowledge, the situation revolves around the contentious ‘Centenary City’ project, which is the subject of ongoing legal disputes in the High Court of Enugu State in SUIT NO. E/935/2023 BETWEEN SIR RICHARD N. NNAMANI & 17 ORS AND PRIVATE ESTATE INTERNATIONAL WEST AFRICA LIMITED and SUIT NO. E/306/2022 BETWEEN SIR RICHARD N. NNAMANI &18 ORS AND DIGITAL CRYPTO LTD & ANOR. Despite the legal proceedings, the community alleged to continue to face oppressive actions, including the demolition of their homes, which they claim to be orchestrated by the ECTDA in collusion with ‘compromised’ police officers. These actions are alleged to be in direct violation of court orders and principles of the rule of law.

Here, we provide a highlight of the specific grievances and instances of alleged human rights violations suffered by the Concerned Kindred Families:

  1. Oppressive Acts and Demolition of Homes: The ECTDA, in collusion with armed thugs and complicit police officers, has allegedly launched a campaign of terror against the community. They unlawfully demolished homes and structures belonging to the Concerned Kindred Families, violating court orders and legal processes, as alleged. Notably, in SUIT NO. E/935/2023 BETWEEN SIR RICHARD N. NNAMANI & 17 ORS AND PRIVATE ESTATE INTERNATIONAL WEST AFRICA LIMITED and SUIT NO. E/306/2022 BETWEEN SIR RICHARD N. NNAMANI &18 ORS AND DIGITAL CRYPTO LTD & ANOR, there are alleged pending cases regarding these matters.

  2. Unlawful Land Grabbing and Dispossession: Private developers, notably Private Estates International West Africa (PEIWA), led by Kingsley Eze, have allegedly colluded with corrupt officials to seize ancestral lands belonging to the Concerned Kindred Families. This has led to the unlawful dispossession of land, disregarding the rightful claims and ownership rights of the indigenous community, as claimed.

  3. Biased Policing and Corruption: SP Chidiebere Ijiomah and DCP Olusoji Akinbayo of the Enugu State Police Command are accused of bias and corruption in favor of the land grabbers. SP Chidiebere Ijiomah, in particular, is alleged to have accepted a portion of disputed land as a personal gift where he erected a residential ‘edifice’ and is actively working against the interests of the community. Their alleged actions undermine justice and fairness, and they must be held accountable.

  4. Failure to Prosecute Corrupt Police Officers: Several cases of corruption and abuse of power involving SP Chidiebere Ijiomah and DCP Olusoji Akinbayo have allegedly been documented, yet they remain unpunished. We want the NHRC to intervene and make sure that these officers are accountable.

In light of these egregious violations, we implore the NHRC to intervene and ensure the following:

  1. Conduct a thorough investigation into the alleged documented human rights violations.

  2. Hold all perpetrators, including officials of the ECTDA and implicated police officers, accountable.

  3. Provide immediate protection and assistance to the affected families.

  4. Facilitate the restitution of unlawfully seized lands and properties.

  5. Removal of SP Chidiebere Ijiomah from cases related to the disputed land, and investigation into his alleged misconduct.

  6. Compensation for victims of malicious prosecution and other forms of injustice.

7.The complainants would want the matter to be handled in a neutral place other than Enugu state, particularly in Abuja by the NHRC headquarters. This is because the Enugu State Government has been alleged to have an aura of authority over agencies working within the state.

We trust in the National Human Rights Commission’s commitment to upholding human rights and seek urgent action to address these grave violations in Amechi Uwani, Enugu State even as the petition filed on behalf of the petitioners was endorsed by Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko.

National Coordinator of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) just as the presentation emphasised that the representatives of the petitioners are available for purposes of investigation by the National headquarters of the National Human Rights Commission headed by the Executive Secretary Anthony Ojukwu, SAN.

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