A crisis is reportedly brewing between Igbodo community, Ika North East, and Onicha-Ugbo community, Aniocha North Local Government Area (LGA) of Delta State following alleged criminal activities coordinated by a manager of Zenith Bank Plc, Osadebe Osakwe.
Mr. Osakwe, an indigene of Onicha-Ugbo community and a manager of Zenith Bank Plc, has allegedly been using armed thugs to seize land from residents of Igbodo community.
SaharaReporters reliably gathered that Mr. Osakwe, who has used the confiscated land to established a farm called “Adagat Agricultural Ventures Limited,” has continuously boasted that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, and his brother, a senior police officer, are solidly behind his land-grabbing from the people of Igbodo community for the purpose of starting a World Bank farming project.
An indigene of Igbodo community who witnessed Mr. Osakwe’s last attack disclosed that Mr. Osakwe’s encroachment and grabbing of Igbodo farmlands is being backed by some powers that be in the country.
The source noted that Mr. Osakwe had last week hired armed thugs to attack anyone that wanted to challenge his ownership of the land he had forcefully seized from the people of Igbodo community, adding that he saw indigenes whose land was stolen being accosted and shot at by armed thugs.
“The people numbering over ten escaped being shot by whisker and ran to the Divisional Police Station in Igbodo to report the matter of what transpired between them and Mr. Osakwe in their farmland. One of the families had over a month ago reported the criminal activities on their farmland to the police at the Area Command in Asaba.
“But Mr. Osakwe has continued to ignore all invitations extended to him by the police. One Mr. Chiedu Osakwe, a police officer at A Division Police Station, Asaba and related to Osadebe Osakwe continued to shield him with the excuse that the banker was out of the country. The families have been accusing the police of not taking the needed steps to get the banker,” the community source said.
A police officer who confided in SaharaReporters disclosed that Mr. Osakwe is being backed by a Minister. He stated that Mr. Osakwe’s younger brother, one Mr. Onyisi Osakwe, had told him in confidence that the Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Kachukwu, is supporting him and that he would use his contacts in the government, including the police and a team of lawyers, to suppress any opposing voice in the matter.
A petition to the Police Area Command in Asaba issued by one of the land owners, the family of the late Diokpa Nwaeke Nwanyaha, drew attention to the malicious damage of their economic crops, which had over the years assisted the family in meeting certain obligations, such as caring for the 95-year-old matriarch of the family. The family, according to the petition, had been farming the land for decades without interference.
Narrating their ordeals in the hands of Mr. Osakwe and his armed thugs, one of the members of the families who had gone to inspect the damages done to their farmlands, Tony Egbunike, alleged that the power drunk banker ordered his thugs to shoot, but the indigenes were able to escape.
The families called on the traditional ruler of Onicha-Ugbo, the Delta State government and those who know Mr. Osakwe to call him to order to avoid a bloodbath between Onicha-Ugbo and Igbodo communities.
The families described Mr. Osakwe as an intruder who was fanning embers of disunity amongst the two communities that had hitherto lived in peace over the years.
When contacted, Mr. Osakwe rebuffed all calls and messages sent to his mobile phone, but one of his security guards at the farm confirmed the story and boasted that his boss would kill anyone who stands as an obstacle, adding that he has the protection of Mr. Kachikwu and the police.