Saturday, October 10, 2009

Re: Appeal to Human Rights Organizations

From: The Secretariat of Nkerehi Town Union - U.S.A.

Re: Appeal to Human Rights Organizations

We are appealing to you to contact appropriate U.S. and Nigerian authorities and plead with them to stop Dr. Godwin Maduka, a well-to-do pain management doctor in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A. from sponsoring terror and violation of human rights of people of Nkerehi town in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria. Dr. Godwin Maduka is a naturalized U.S. citizen. He came from Nkerehi to the United States in 1982. He went to school in the United States and became a medical doctor. He is currently the owner and Director of Las Vegas Pain Institute, which is located at 3835 South Jones Boulevard, Suite 104 , Las Vegas, NV 89103. His telephone number is (702) 880-4193.

In 2007, Dr. Maduka came home and in a mad rush gave notice to selected few, his plan for the building of a monastery for the Catholic Church in Nkerehi. In that process, without authority nor permission from Nkerehi community he bulldozed poor people’s farmland, crops and economic trees to build dirt express road to the monastery site. He also bulldozed the town’s market and moved it closer to his monastery site. He paid and sponsored his followers to destroy every historical, traditional, and cultural landmark in the town including numerous antiquities and memorable/sacred trees. He also decided to change the name of the town from Nkerehi to Umuchukwu without authority or due process. Umuchukwu means the people or children of God in Igbo language.

Dr. Maduka’s maternal uncle, Igwe Michael Ukaegbu, is traditional ruler of the town, whose power is basically ceremonial. However, Dr. Maduka’s uncle has not been able to perform many of the ceremonial rites since he became the Igwe in 1977 because he was not the right person to occupy the throne. He did not have the traditional sacred symbol to occupy the throne. Many members of Igwe's cabinet assert that Dr. Maduka persuaded the Igwe and the cabinet to go along with him because by destroying the town's historical institutions and changing it’s name would bring legitimacy to his uncle’s throne. The rational is that his uncle would no longer fear traditional royal retribution of Nkerehi 'Gods' in performing village customary rites. Most Nkerehi residents regard Dr. Godwin Maduka and his followers as misguided, irrational, superstitious, and pretentious religious fanatics as bad as the Taliban.

When Nkerehi people started asking questions on why Dr Maduka should destroyed their historic landmarks, bulldozed and relocated their market, and went as far as changing the town’s name, Maduka and his followers responded with violence, terrorism, intimidation, harassment, wrongful persecution, torture, and ostracism to shut them up. He resorted to bribing the police hierarchy and government functionaries to achieve his purpose and to suppress, intimidate, harass, persecute and punish his opponents. He built a police post in Nkerehi, which he called Umuchukwu Police Post, staffed with Nigerian police just to cow, harass, and intimidate the people. People were arrested and charged to court for just saying the word Nkerehi in public or wearing t-shirts with the name Nkerehi printed on them. Dr. Maduka sponsored and heavily armed a militia group, which he camouflaged and registered as Umuchukwu Vigilante Group. The militia is directly aimed at suppressing, cowing, humiliating and killing those opposed to their town name change. He also set up youth thugs that compliment the activities of his militia.

Maduka went to Nigeria in August, 2009 and ordered his youth thugs and militia to violently force out-of-town all those that do not agree to the town name change. Seventy-six-year-old Elder Pius Onwunarauba who was trying to rescue his brother Bejamin Onwunarauba from the youth thugs was struck down by Keneth Maduka, Dr. Maduka' s brother. Onwunarauba suffered stroke shortly after the encounter which left his brother Benjamin with broken legs. The militia shot and killed people with many wounded during the rampage. For a month now, hundreds of Nkerehi people have been driven out of their homes. They are refugees in the neighboring towns of Owerre-Ezukala, Ogbunka, Umunze, and Nneato. Most of them are helpless, homeless, hungry, and without enough clothes. They risk torture or death if they return to their homes. Maduka's bandits are marauding, pillaging, and looting the belongings of those they evicted while his 'Umuchukwu' Police are watching. Anambra State government and the Nigerian Police have done nothing to protect the people or help them go back to their homes.

People from neighboring towns who came to help Nkerehi residents from the claws of the bandits were shot at mercilessly as the police watched. Some were arrested and detained by the compromised police for months now, without adequate medical treatment. Detainees include three women, two of which are in their seventies and the other in her fifties. Maduka believes that with his money, he can do anything in Nigeria and get away with it. He always says: "every Nigeria man or woman has a price". Please help us to stop him.

You can help to stop him by contacting appropriate Nigerian and U.S. government authorities, human rights organizations and the media and making a case for their effort in stopping him and bringing peace and justice to Nkerehi. Please help put pressure on Anambra State Government on the urgency of action in bringing to a halt the murder and mayhem in Nkerehi. Maduka must be stopped and our people allowed to go back home. All innocent detainees must be released immediately. Please help to publicize the plight of our people and peace be with you.


Prof. Richard S. Igwike
Secretary General, Nkerehi Town Union – U.S.A.

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