Re: The Crisis in Nkerehi Town
Ladies and Gentlemen:
We the members of Nkerehi Town Union, U.S.A., are pleading to every Igbo person to appeal to His Excellency, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State and the Inspector General of Police, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr. Ogbnnaya Onovo to protect the life and Property of Nkerehi people.
The crisis in Nkerehi started when an indigene of the town, Dr. Godwin Maduka, a pain management doctor in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A., decided to build a monastery in the town for the Catholic Church. In pursuit of that goal, Dr. Maduka sponsored the destruction of all the historical and cultural landmarks in the town. He bulldozed the town’s market and relocated it closer to the monastery site. He then without due process decided to change the name of the town from Nkerehi to “Umuchukwu” with the support of his maternal uncle, Igwe Michael Ukaegbu.
Dr. Godwin Maduka and his followers have used several tactics such as excessive violence, intimidation, harassment, ostracism and bribery to force Nkerehi people to accept the name change. But so far, Nkerehi people have insisted that no one should change their ancestral name, which is their heritage and identity.
Dr. Godwin Maduka visited Nigeria recently and instructed his followers to violently run out of town, anyone who does not support changing the name from Nkerehi to the so called “Umuchukwu”. On Saturday, August 22, 2009, some individuals parading themselves as “Umuchukwu Youth” started attacking the community. Many people were beaten mercilessly and seriously wounded. Some people’s legs were broken with iron rods and others suffered knife wounds.
The marauding hoodlums paraded from house to house with guns, machetes and iron rods, destroying doors, searching for people to maim or possibly kill. Many people ran into the bush and others took refuge in neighboring towns. The old and the sick that couldn’t run were trapped at home and were completely helpless.
We wrote His Excellency, Governor Peter Obi, asking him to intervene as the chief law enforcement officer in Anambra State. We also appealed to the Commissioner of Police in Anambra State to protect life and property of Nkerehi people. As no one was willing to help, some daring sons and daughters of the community came out from hiding on Saturday, August 29, 2009 to help the trapped old and sick ones that could not flee. They were met with
brutal assualt by Dr. Maduka’s militia parading under “Umuchukwu Vigilantes”. Many were
seriously wounded with pump action guns provided by Dr. Maduka.
As reported in Nigerian Newspapers, five people were killed and fifteen received gunshot wounds from the assualt. Nkerehi people remain refugees in their own land as we appeal to
Ndigbo. We appeal to all peace loving people to use any channel available to them in bringing the attention of Nigerian authorities to the situation in our community. Our lives and properties must be protected from the power hungry religious fanatic, in the name of Dr. Godwin Maduka
and his henchmen.
Dr. Maduka hides under religion to fulfil his naked ambition of royalty. He wants to be king of
a new village empire and that was why he changed the name of our community. He uses religion as a tool and this is the reason he carries the bible on one hand by building a monastery in the community. On the other hand he uses the sword of conquest to threaten and compel the community to his whims. His calculation is that at the end he emerges the traditional ruler after all opposition would have been suppressed. All those in the royal lineage of our community that might prevent his brute-force acquisition of royalty are victims of Dr. Maduka's terror campaign.
Nkerehi people are only interested in preserving the name "Nkerehi", which is our ancestral heritage and collective identity.
If you are interested in reviewing the genesis and the progression of the crisis in Nkerehi, please visit http://www.nkerehitownunion.org/.
Prof. Richard S. Igwike
Prof. Patrick Ibe