By Okey Maduforo
The crisis has been as old as three years now since a philanthropist; Dr Godwin Maduka returned to the town and commenced several developmental projects. To the admiration of most people, Maduka has been a blessing to his people and community.
But the question that has remained unanswered is which community has Maduka been a blessing to? To those that claim to be Umuchukwu community Maduka has been a true son of his father. But to those that answer Nkerehi community, the man has been a symbol of woes.
This face off in the community over the change of its name from Nkerehi to Umuchukwu has indeed taken a toll on this community in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State. According to a petition to the Inspector General of Police signed by NM Umenweke counsel to Joseph Anulobi and eleven others.
They alleged that “It is our Clients’ instruction that Dr. Godwin Maduka constitute a bandwagon of thugs recruited from Aguleri and some others from Nkerehi Town which include Viz: Sunday Obi, Anthony Ezeji, James Ogbonna, Rufus Ugwa, Ifeanyi Duru, Ikechukwu Okeke, Okechukwu Nwele and others armed them with machetes, axe, acid and over 54 pieces of pump action with which he has been pursing the agenda of changing the Name of Nkerehi community to Umuchukwu unilaterally which is today the edge of disintegration of Nkerehi into two
“Dr. Maduka abducted Barr. Odoemena on 12th day of February 2007 with his thugs and some mobile police men and when they brought him before Dr. Maduka he told Barr. Odoemena that he will waste him if he did not join his group
“Since then armed men have been trailing Barr. Odoemena both at his office, village house and resident at Onitsha . In his further threat, Dr. Maduka said that as a Drug baron based in LAS VEGAS USA he can conceive and execute any kind of crime in Nigeria as far as money is concern after all even the Inspector General of Police can be controlled with money.
“In pursuance of the negative purpose for which he constituted this horrible men of the underworld, he on the 11th of March 2007 ordered that one Barr. Basil Igwike should be killed and after some hours of incarceration in his private cell, Barr. Igwike was according beaten to moribund, the picture and his injuries found in a newspaper that published the story is annexed and marked as Exhibit. A
“A spurious allegation of kidnap of his Royal Highness Igwe M.N. Ukaegbu was made against Barr. Basil on the same 11th of March 2007 to predicate the assault on him
“Barr. Basil petitioned the Commissioner of Police of Anambra State in which case the commissioner assigned the matter to the state CID for investigation. The said investigation was accordingly conducted in respect of the alleged kidnap of His Royal Highness Igwe M.N. Ukaegbu, serious assault on Barr. Igwike, and the murder of one Peter Echem. This late Peter Echem was kidnapped by group of armed men and later found dead with bullet wounds.
“The State CID upon discovering that the alleged kidnap of the Igwe was unfounded but was basically fabricated to underpin the malice aforethought against all those who opposed the attempt by Dr. Godwin Maduka to change the name of the town from Nkerehi to Umuchukwu. The state CID Awka discovered in the cause of their investigation that Dr. Godwin Maduka and the mobile policemen given to him by zone 9, Umuahia and the barrage of his armed brigands who follow him were responsible for the murder of the said Peter Echem. The same vehicle which is a white Mercedes Benz Car used in kidnapping Peter Echem before he was murdered and purportedly used in kidnapping the said Igwe M.N. Ukaegbu was parked in the house of Dr. Godwin Maduka.
“Intensive investigation were being carried out into the matter by Supol Ubi of Anambra State Police Headquarters Awka and more cans of worms were about to be revealed when the zone 9 command of the Nigerian Police Umuahia called for the entire files on the case, accordingly suppressed the case of murder against Dr. Godwin Maduka.
He further alleged that the police have not helped matters in the prosecution of those allegations of assault on the villager insisting that
“We the complainants in the matter herein above referred wish to formally bring to your knowledge our corporate feelings vis-à-vis the manner with which our complaints is being treated with triviality and levity while we remain at the receiving end of the persistent onslaught of the unscrupulous suspects
“It is clear that after the arrest, bail and subsequent jumping of bail of Dr. Godwin Maduka, no other thing has been done in respect of our complaint despite over eleven times (11) we have visited your office to same effect.
We opted to explore the service of police as an institution constitutionally mandated to maintain social equilibrium in a civilized system but the expected protection seem not to be forthcoming barely one year after our complaint.”
But the President General of Umuchukwu community, Hon. Peter Ibezimakor told Daily Independent that those allegations are not true.
“There is nothing like that Umuchukwu is calm and peaceful. All those people that have been telling you that we have problems are only deceiving you. We held a government referendum over the change of name from Nkerehi to Umuchukwu and it was successful. Last year we had our gazette and everything is over.”
“Relating to the allegations of assault on the villagers, I tell you clearly that nobody was attacked. They may have attacked themselves and want to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it. The post office in the community bears Umuchukwu, also with the Divisional police office, the Churches and every other institutions in the community.
“Any one that goes about talking to you about Nkerehi is only making up stories to deceive the public. You can even speak with the DPO here in Umuchukwu.”
Ibezimakor further contended that the allegation of Umuchukwu people not attending the Roman Catholic Church in the are is not true, contending that all the churches have been peaceful and that there has not been any case of misunderstanding among the people of Umuchukwu