…Destroys Fences, Houses
…Rumuokwurusi People Are Intimidating Us – Iriebe Paramount Ruler
The large expanse of land named Apa Elelenwo, Awhuzuruha, Awhonta and Ohia – Owhuru – Olu – Olu according to Iheanyi Ihunwo, Chairman, Rumu – Wele Family of Rumuokwurusi was last week Thursday, August 3, 2020 allegedly invaded by persons suspected as thugs from Iriebe community.
The invaders reportedly aided and protected by policemen were alleged to have acted on the orders of Eze Jeremiah Worenwo, Paramount Ruler, Iriebe Community.
Iheanyi Ihunwo told journalists that the land belonged to Rumu-Wele family of Rumuokwurusi and that they were the 10th generation who inherited it from their ancestors. He said they had been farming and erecting buildings on the land without anybody molesting them.
He stressed that they had no land boundary with Iriebe community as their land boundaries are with their close neighbours from Rumuokwurusi namely Rumu – Wosu, Rumu – Gbali, Rumu – Genehu and Rumu – Amadi.
He disclosed that one of their boundary neighbours, Rumu – Gbali family once came to drag the land with them, but the matter went to court lasting for 21 years until eventually judgment was given in their favour. He said while the matter was in court, Iriebe people never showed up nor joined as claimant in the suit.
The Rumu – Wele family chairman also showed receipts for payment of damages made by AGIP in the course of constructing pipelines on the land. In addition to that, he further disclosed that his uncle, S. Adele had a rubber plantation on that land which he registered in 1962 with the Eastern Nigerian Government.
He showed proof of registration to journalists. He said Rumu – Wele family had enough documents to show as proof that the land belongs to them and that it was bequeathed to them by their fore fathers.
Ihunwo said their problem with Iriebe started on June this year when they noticed that Iriebe people had started encroaching on the land. He alleged that they would come with policemen who would shoot sporadically scaring away Rumuokwurusi people farming and erecting structures. “When the people ran away, the thugs would freely bring down fences and buildings,” the Rumu – Wele chairman said.
He said the latest onslaught was on Thursday, September 3, when thugs allegedly working for the paramount ruler of Iriebe again invaded the land with armed policemen, destroying fences and buildings.
Ihunwo said he had to raise alarm to let Rivers people and Nigerians know that Rumu – Wele family had no land boundary with Iriebe people and that persecuting them for no just cause was unacceptable.
He appealed to security agencies and the Rivers State Government to intervene before the matter degenerates to serious crisis.
Okampa Highbury, secretary, Rumu – Wele family collaborated Iheanyi Ihunwo's assertations, but added that it was mere greed and laziness that were propelling Eze Worenwo and his Iriebe people to attempt to collect by force what does not belong to them.
According him when people were not doing anything they would start to look for trouble to foment and properties to acquire. He however vowed that they will resist any attempt to take over their land.
Reacting, HRH, Eze Dr. Jeremiah Worenwo, Paramount Ruler, Iriebe Community said Rumuokwurusi people have been intimidating and oppressing them because of their small population.
He said they had pushed them out of their land and dragged them down to their present abode at yam zone using their large population.
Eze Worenwo told journalists that Iriebe is the first son of Esare and by seniority and right, the owners of the land Rumu – Wele family of Rumuokwurusi were laying claim. He said as the first son they will take land first before their immediate younger ones.
He alleged that Rumuokwurusi community had used their large number to collect virtually all the lands that belonged to Iriebe people, including this one in contention.
He made a passionate appeal to Rumuokwurusi people to stop intimidating them because of their large number, warning that “a cow does not have tail yet God drives away flies for it”.