Monday, March 22, 2021

FACTORS POINTING TO GABRIEL OGBECHIE AS THE MASTERMIND AND FUNDER OF THE IDUMUJE-UGBOKO CRISES FROM 2015-TO DATE- BY FRED AKPEWE, EVANG EUGENE OBIENU


By Fred Akpewe, Evan Eugene Obienu


DELTA FRESH VISION recalls that in the Vanguard edition of May 21, 2020, Dr. Gabriel Ogbechie, the Managing Director of RAINOIL made a two page advertorial titled “The quest for peace in Idumuje-Ugboko”. In the advertorial, Ogbechie tried to convince the world that he was a peace maker in search of lasting peace in his homeland. In this piece, he made allusions to asking Prince Ned Nwoko to look for an alternative land for his University and golf course projects and also pleaded that all hands should be on deck to ensure that Prince Nonso Nwoko gets his staff of office. Grapevine information available also indicated that Dr. Ogbechie had requested Prince Ned Nwoko to give the sum of N100,000,000 (one hundred million naira), to Prince Nonso Nwoko as compensatory bribe, to which Prince Ned Nwoko vehemently objected.

Contrary to Dr. Gabriel Ogbechie’s pontifications that he was seeking for peace, evidences abound that he was in fact the principal sponsor of crises in Idumuje-Ugboko right from the onset. Gabriel Ogbechie’s support for Prince Nonso Nwoko’s acts of illegality was ostensibly prompted by the promise of being made the Iyase (Prime Minister) if Prince Nonso’s bid to become Obi materializes. It is also alleged that Prince Nonso Nwoko promised to give Norseworthy Ltd, a company owned by Gabriel Ogbechie the land originally allocated to Prince Ned Nwoko for the establishment of the University and golf course. Norseworthy Ltd needed the land for the cultivation of palm oil plantation. It is the promise of this piece of land that may have goaded Gabriel Ogbechie on to withdraw his support for the land properly and procedurally acquired by Prince Ned Nwoko. Not once did Gabriel Ogbechie appeal to Prince Ned to find an alternation piece of land for his university project and golf course. It was the frustration of inability to secure the 90 hectares of land that prompted Ogbechie to relocate the Norseworthy Palm project to Akwukwu-Igbo where he got a 3,000 acres of land for his oil palm plantation.

SPONSORSHIP OF IDUMUJE-UGBOKO CRISES BY GABRIEL OGBECHIE
In 2017 when Prince Nonso Nwoko proclaimed himself Obi of Idumuje-Ugboko without recourse to existing traditional and customary protocol one man he relied on to back him was Dr. Gabriel Ogbechie. Ogbechie thus provided the first butter by sponsoring Prince Nonso Nwoko, Richard Obiajulu Nwoko, Prince Ejimofor Frederick Nwoko and Dennis Uwadiegwu Nwoko to forge a letter dated 12/8/2015 repudiating the land given to Prince Ned Nwoko for the establishment of a University and golf course. They also in furtherance of achieving their objectives unleashed mayhem on the community, attacked persons who were in support of development in the community and in the process left two persons dead, several persons injured and houses of some of Prince Ned supporters razed to the ground. We must not forget that prior to the mayhem in 2017, Dr. Gabriel Ogbechie had allegedly sponsored a Vanguard Newspaper advertorial on 15/4/2017 after a meeting was held in his house on 31/3/2017. So he must have had a fore knowledge of the Idumuje-Ugboko mayhem. The role of Gabriel Ogbechie in the Idumuje-Ugboko crises became more suspicious and controversial when he claimed to have participated in the burial rites of HRM Albert Nwoko III to the exclusion of the Iyase (Prime Minister), the Odogwu (Traditional Defence Minister) and the Eze Dibia (Chief Priest). People have been asking questions why someone of Gabriel Ogbechie’s stature would attend a hurriedly packaged surreptitious burial and also support a hurried self proclamation by Prince Nonso Nwoko as Obi, just a few hours after the burial of the monarch. Also in October 12th, 2020, Dr. Gabriel Ogbechie sponsored the “concerned women of Idumuje-Ugboko” on a counter protest to Government House, Asaba alleging that:
(1) “The crises (Idumuje-Ugboko) was as a result of Prince Ned Nwoko’s quest to acquire a disproportionate size of the community ancestral land for his private commercial venture by force”.
(2) “They also decried the delay in the presentation of staff of office to Obi Justin Nonso Nwoko which they believe was at the instance of an orchestration of Prince Ned Nwoko who allegedly boasted that unless the community yields to his illegal land occupation, the traditional ruler will not receive his staff of office”.
Gabriel Ogbechie also sponsored three men on the 8th of August, 2020 to reel out a cocktail of lies in a CHANNELS TELEVISION Sunrise Daily Programme. These men, Engr. Igue Enueyibo, Chuks Nwoko and Uche Aligbe carried out a well rehearsed propaganda by dubbing Prince Ned Nwoko as a “land grabber” who has been terrorizing and arresting Idumuje-Ugboko people who dared to resist him in his quest of acquiring all ancestral lands in the community. These three hirelings live in Lagos and do not go home. They lacked the capacity to even identify or locate the lands in question. As people who had no stake in the community, being mere mercenaries, their false claims were easily dismissed for want of credibility. Not done, Gabriel Ogbechie allegedly sponsored one Deji Adeyanju, a Human Rights Activist who perhaps do not even know the location of Idumuje-Ugboko in the map of Delta State to throw tantrums on Prince Ned Nwoko. In August 26th, 2020, Deji posted a terse message on Facebook thus:-

“I will be doing a Facebook live by 7pm tonight on billionaire
Ned Nwoko bullying the peace loving people of Idumuje-Ugboko
Community in Delta State in an attempt to forcibly buy all their
Lands. A lawyer and several people in the community spoke to
me about the injustice going on there and how institutions are
used to intimidate and harass innocent people”

The Facebook live programme by Deji Adeyanju that ensued turned out to be a charade, a rehearsal of the lies and propaganda that was unleashed on the media space against Prince Ned Nwoko. But for deft and prompt intervention of Prince Walter Eziashi, a former President-General of the community who put records straight in the phone in live programme perhaps Deji Adeyanju and his sponsors would have had their way.
VINDICATION OF PRINCE NED NWOKO
In spite of an orchestrated plan by Gabriel Ogbechie to demonize Prince Ned Nwoko there have been several reports which had vindicated Prince Ned Nwoko. In a statement dated 6th January, 2021 titled “My experience as the Executive Chairman of Aniocha North Local Government Council, on the security crises in Idumuje-Ugboko”, the former chairman of the council, Hon. Chuks Oseme, painted a graphic picture of the Idumuje-Ugboko crises which is hereby culled in part as follows:

“Prince Ned Nwoko first approached the Council in writing requesting
for a Right of occupancy for the land given to him with the authority
of the Obi of Idumuje-Ugboko, Obi Albert Nwoko, who has passed
on. As a result of an objection, I decided to pay the Obi a visit for
further clarification in which I discovered that Prince Ned’s claims
were genuine in which the then Obi confirmed issuing the approval
letter following the recommendation of the Land Allocation committee.
The Right of Occupancy was therefore issued with all the necessary
procedures followed”.

The above clarification coming from the Council Chairman who is also the Chief Security Officer of the Council at the time ought to have sealed the land matter under discussion. Yet, people like Gabriel Ogbechie due to sheer mischief, continued to sponsor mercenaries to give the erroneous impression that Prince Ned was terrorizing his kinsmen and grabbing their lands by force. This deliberate falsehood is one of the reasons why peace was delayed for so long in Idumuje-Ugboko. Another vindication came the way of Prince Ned Nwoko after a petition by Chris Aligbe was received by the IGP. Chris Aligbe claimed in his petition that Prince Ned Nwoko was terrorizing his Kinsmen and forcibly taking their lands from them. Aligbe also claimed that Prince Ned Nwoko was using policemen to achieve his purpose. The IGP sent a team of policemen to investigate the allegations and found them to be false. Prince Ned Nwoko received a clean bill regarding sponsored lies against his person.

ALLEGED ASSASINATION PLOT ON THE LIFE OF PRINCE NED NWOKO BY DR. GABRIEL OGBECHIE

In a petition to the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command, Abuja, dated 12th of November, 2020, Prince Ned Nwoko accused Gabriel Ogbechie of a plot to assassinate him. The plot was uncovered by Ossy Bosa, an inmate at Suleja correctional facility who overheard some inmates discussing a plot to eliminate Prince Ned Nwoko, a plot that was allegedly linked to Gabriel Ogbechie. Prince Ned had sufficient adversarial antecedents coming from Ogbechie to believe the assassination plot. Unfortunately Ossy Bosa after giving his statements to the Police suddenly died under mysterious circumstances. The petition by Prince Ned Nwoko which has since been transferred to the IGP’s office is currently receiving attention. In the meantime, Gabriel Ogbechie in his characteristic manner has taken to a one page Vanguard Advertorial of Friday, February, 2021 titled “Ned Nwoko” assassination story. A hoax. The truth of the matter” to defend himself. In his defence, Gabriel Ogbechie stirred the hornets’ nest by making some false assertions which read thus:-
“I am in support of the University. The King is in support of the
University. The community is happy to host the University. The
King, HRH Obi Chukwunonso Nwoko who ascended the throne
About four years ago desires his staff of office. Ned Nwoko has
used every subterfuge in the book to ensure the King does not
get his staff of office. To no avail, I have appealed to Ned Nwoko
on numerous occasions to follow due process in the acquisition
of his desired portion of land and to also allow the newly installed
King to be presented his staff of office”.

A response to the above glaring falsehood can be summarized as follows:-
(1) Dr. Gabriel Ogbechie has never supported the establishment of the University and golf course either in deed or in words, neither has Prince Nonso ever shown interest in the establishment of the University. As a matter of fact, the duo had done everything to frustrate the commencement of the projects through denial of the allocation of the land to Prince Ned Nwoko.
(2) It is not true that Ossy Bosah is a phantom or a creation of Prince Ned Nwoko as Gabriel Ogbechie wants the world to believe. Bosah actually gave a statement to the Police. He also contacted someone who knew Regina Daniels to warn him of an impending assassination attempt on Prince Ned Nwoko. That he died suddenly in a suspicious manner should be investigated and Gabriel Ogbechie declared as the principal suspect.
(3) Gabriel Ogbechie has always provided lawyers and other logistics support to suspects charged for murder and terrorism in the community. He provides a safe haven for people who have caused mayhem in Idumuje-Ugboko through bails. He has also thrown his weight behind an illegal occupation of the throne without recourse to the wishes of community folks. Anyone who seeks peace should also seek justice.
(4) The claim that “Policemen at the behest of Ned Nwoko had invaded the Palace at the dead of night, picked up the King like a common criminal and locked up at Asaba” is false. For a long time the Police had been inviting Prince Nonso for questioning on charges of murder but he had refused to honour Police invitation. No one is above the law. The Police moved into the town to arrest Prince Nonso in their normal course of duty and not at someone’s behest, as Ogbechie wrongly states.
(5) Suddenly, Gabriel accepted he was invited and interrogated by the Police whereas he had initially denied he was never invited let alone interrogated by the Police.
(6) In the Newspaper advertorial, Gabriel Ogbechie consistently referred to Prince Nonso Nwoko as the King or His Royal Highness, Obi Chukwunonso Nwoko. This sacrilegious claim is contrary to the truth. Prince Nonso has never been King of Idumuje-Ugboko. This fact was echoed recently by the Iyase of Idumuje-Ugboko, Chief Christopher Ogwu, who in an interview with journalists said “If Prince Nonso says he is an Obi, who crowned him and where was he crowned?. Since the demise of HRM Obi Albert Nwoko III in 2017, the kingship stool of the community has been vacant. It was only recently that HRM Agbogbidi Obi Solomon Eziokwubundu Nwabuokei Nwoko became the Obi of Idumuje-Ugboko. His selection followed a thorough screening and recommendation by the Aniocha North Traditional Rulers Committee based on historical data and records. Both the Traditional Rulers Committee and the Aniocha North LGA have transmitted separate letters to the Delta State Government requesting recognition and presentation of a staff of office to the new Obi. One person that knows Gabriel Ogbechie well is an octogenarian – Prince Daniel Nwoko whose memos to Gabriel Ogbechie have leaked to the press. In one of such memos, Prince Daniel Nwoko told Ogbechie: “the millions of naira you dole to Prince Nonso, about 75% of the sum goes to Barrister Mbanefo as legal fees, transport and other exigencies. This has also enabled Mbanefo to become an obstacle to peace in the Royalty”. Continuing, Daniel Nwoko says “if Barrister Mbanefo leaves the scene today and if you stop funding Nonso today, there would be peace at Idumuje-Ugboko”. Of Prince Nonso, Daniel Nwoko says “Nonso is at war with his senior uncles and Nonso is at war with his father, Nonso is at war with himself. Until he comes to terms with himself and be at peace with his fathers and with his uncles, he will not get the staff of office”. Continuing, Daniel Nwoko says of Gabriel Ogbechie “ if you like throw your money from here to Jericho, Nonso will never be given staff of office, unless Royal Fathers communiqué is implemented. And I will continue to advocate the full opposition to staff of office for Nonso”.

DELTA FRESH VISION believes that Gabriel Ogbechie continuous reference to Prince Nonso Nwoko as Obi is to defy the authority of the Traditional Rulers of Aniocha North, a body statutorily empowered to recommend and proclaim a new Obi. The stance of Gabriel Ogbechie is not only disrespectful, callous and unhealthy but also an invitation to anarchy in the Kingdom.

COMR. FRED AKPEWE EVANG. EUGENE OBIENU

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