The chairman of Rumuwele family of Rumuokwurusi, Iheanyichukwu Ihunwo has alleged that the paramount ruler of Iriebe community, Eze Jeremiah Worenwu was using security operatives to dispossess them of their land.
Ihunwo made the allegation in a press briefing in Port Harcourt.
He named the land allegedly being taken by the monarch as; Awhuzuruha, Ekwu Aparaelelenwo and Ohia Owuru, all situate along Igbo-Etche Road behind the valley of decision estate, Rumuokwurusi.
According to him, on 22nd December 2020, men suspected to be firm the Nigerian Army 6th Division in company of two Naval officers invaded the land, shooting sporadically and arrested one Michael Atai, a labourer working on the land. He further related that the officers took Atai to the palace of Eze Jeremiah Worenwu in Iriebe where he was allegedly tortured and tied with a rope.
The Rumuwele family chairman said when he got the information he approached the police who according to him, called Eze Jeremiah Worenwu who denied knowledge of the development.
“After this denial, Eze Jeremiah later handed Atai to the police in Oyigbo, alleging that he stole a motorcycle,” Iheanyichukwu said.
Alleging further that Eze Worenwu was using security operatives to intimidate his family the chairman called on the Nigerian army 6th Division to investigate its personnel posted at Oyigbo. He also appealed to the Nigerian Air force to investigate one of its retired officers living at Iriebe whom he alleged Eze Worenwu was using with the help of his two security men to grab their ancestral land.
“This retired Air force Officer is using security men attached to him to do land grabbing,” he claimed.
Ihunwo disclosed that investigation had shown that the documents Eze Worenwu had been parading as proof that Iriebe owned the disputed land was not genuine.
“It is fake,” he said. He alleged that the document did not emanate from the Rivers State Ministry of Land and Housing as claimed.
Ihunwo also advised the public to disregard Eze Jeremiah's claim that he has a pending court case with Rumuwele family, stressing that no such case exists. He said if it exits Eze Worenwu should mention the suit number so that public should be aware of it.
He called on the government and Nigeria Police to prosecute the Iriebe paramount ruler for alleged forgery. He equally called on relevant authorities to prosecute Eze Jeremiah Worenwu for land grabbing, saying this would teach other land grabbers in the state a lesson.
Vowing that Rumuwele family would defend their land by any means legally possible, Ihunwo thanked the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan for carrying out proper investigation on the matter.
When the paramount Ruler of Iriebe Community Eze Jeremiah Worenwu was called he did not respond, but he had in the past while reacting to allegations concerning the land in question said Rumuokwurusi people had been intimidating and oppressing Iriebe community using their large population. He had claimed in the past that Rumuokwurusi people drove them to their present abode at Iriebe because they were small in number. “They have been maltreating us and collecting our land by force”, he had said.