David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Five brothers of the same parents in Ifite village, Ezinifite, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, are embroiled in a land dispute that has divided the family into camps even as the remains of their father, who died in September 2018, are still in the mortuary.
The eldest of the five men, Mr. Obed Umeojiaka, has dragged four of his siblings, Emeka, Ifeanyi and two others, to court over his right of inheritance of the Obi and compound of his late father as the first son, in accordance with the custom and tradition of Ezinifite community.
In suit AG/7/2019, Obed claimed, among other things, that, during the lifetime of his late father he (Obed) erected some buildings, including a warehouse and boys’ quarters within his father’s compound and fenced them off with one big gate leading into the entire compound.
He said that, 20 years ago, his late father called all his male children and gave various homesteads to them individually outside his own compound and all his siblings accepted their homesteads from their father without protest.
Obed, in the suit, said he had been in possession and occupation of the Obi and compound of his late father until January 2017 when the defendants allegedly invaded the compound with force, and destroyed the fence that protected the entire compound. He claimed that the defendants, after destroying the fence and his property, erected a wall inside the compound to separate the main building of the plaintiff from the boys’ quarters and parking lot built by the plaintiff inside the same compound.
However, Obed’s brothers alleged that he planned to assassinate them. This was contained in a letter to the police. They said in the letter that the determination of Obed to assassinate them had continued to increase on a daily basis.
They had earlier petitioned the Inspector-General of Police through their lawyer, Mr Justus Uche Ijeoma, explaining that their late father gave a portion of his compound to two of his sons, Chukwuemeka and Sopuluchukwu, who built their own houses and partitioned the compound to separate them from the portion given to the first son, Obed, and his properties based on the intervention of their kinsmen.
Trouble started when Obed allegedly demolished his siblings’ houses, pulled down their fences and gates as well as walled off a four-bedroom bungalow belonging to one of his siblings “to deny him access to his house and property.”