... No I didn't threaten his life. He sold community land to a non - clan member, Reps member
By Obiechina Emeka
NSUKKA----A former journalist with the definct Trumpet newspaper, Pastor Ikechukwu Ajih, has accused the member representing Igbo-Eze North/Udenu Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Simon Atigwe, of allegedly threatening his life over a land matter.
Ajih who is down with stroke, said that Atigwe "wants him dead" over a land he sold to one Ikechukwu Ogbu also from Ajih community to enable him treat himself.
However, reacting to the accusation, Hon Atigwe told reporters at Nsukka that he got involved in the matter when members of his clan, Umu-Ooda Ogili, approached him and pleaded that he heads a committee set up to reclaim a piece of their ancestral land allegedly sold out to a non member of the clan by one of their sons, Pastor Ajih.
He further explained that the land, even if it should be sold, must not be given to anybody who is not from Umu-Ooda Ogili clan.
According to him, the trouble started when Pastor Ajih of Christian Family Outreach, sold the portion of the said land which he claimed, he inherited from his late father, Mathew Ajih, being his first son, to a non - member of Umu-Ooda Ogili clan.
Pastor Ajih had told newsmen that the property was shared by his father and given to his sons before he died in 1988, pointing out that he had been cultivating the land since then without complaints from anybody.
He also said that four members of Umu- Ooda Ogili clan approached him when he placed it for adding that he later sold it to the highest brdder who is from another part of the community. "They want to kill me for selling the land I inherited from my father because of my poor health condition. I decided to sell the portion of the land to a non member of the clan when none of the clan members I consulted met the price tag.
"Since I came back here in 1983 for my pastoral job, they have making efforts to take the land from me. This time around, they giving me trouble because we are members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, while they are all of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
"My younger brother, Nnamdi Ajih, started developing his own earlier but I had no money to develop mine. They said that the land belongs to the family but this is not true.
" Our grand father had four sons including my late father, Matthew Ajih. My grand father shared his land amo g his children and all of them have developed theirs. My father in turn shared his own portion among his own sons.
"My fathers brothers include Jonathan Ajih, who is the eldest person in our clan now.
"Jonathan bought another land from another person in another clan and that is where he resides now. His own portion from our grand father is still there..If other peiple from other clans cannot buy land and live in our midst, why is he living where he is now?
"He is taking sides with the other members of the clan, led by Hon Atigwe because of intimidation.
" Land speculators and the people who are interested in the land want to forcefully takeover the land from me.
"When I discovered that, I sold my portion to take care of my ill health, I have been suffering stroke since 2011. I also sold it for my own security also.
"After my investigation, I discovered that it was Hon Atigwe, and his brother, who are instigating the people against me to take the land from me. Formerly, they used my brother, Fimbar Nnamdi Ajih, to work against me by telling him to approach our eldest man to deny that I was not the bonafide owner of the land, but when that failed, he came back, knelt down and apologised to me and my wife.
"After sometime, Nnamdi returned for the said land again. He told me that he was after the land because when I die, he was the one who will take over the land, then, I told him to wait until my death before he could do what he had in mind. After he had said that, I concluded within me that the threat was beyond what I could handle and that was part the reason which made me to sell the land.
"So, when they learnt that I have sold the land, they came back again, gossiping and saying all sort of things against my person and my family. They said that I have no right to sell the land and that even if I had the right, that the land is an ancestral property and should not be sold to anybody who is not from Umu-Ooda clan. Then I asked them, if someone has a property, is he not allowed to sell to anybody of his choice?
"Now, my clan has reported me to the eldest person spiritual leader of the Aji Community (Onyishi) for questioning. As we speak now, the people have installed an insignia of a deity in the land to stop anybody from making use of it. "The surprising thing is that some unidentified hoodlums have pulled down the fence which the buyer of the land is constructing and nobody has come out to claim responsibility for the action."
But Hon. Atigwe, in his reaction denied having any personal interest in the property. He said that it is traditional that the troubled portion can only be occupied by the people from Umu-Ooda Ogili clan.
According to him, he was only interested in ensuring that the property is not sold to an outsider, as non - family members of Umu- Ooda were not supposed to buy the property. He stressed that anybody making use of the land, pays royalty to the eldest man of the clan, annually, showing that it is a community land.
Pastor Ajih's uncle, John Arji who was present during the interview, confirmed that his late brother bequeathed the land to his male children just like their grand father shared his land to his own male children.
He said that some family members conspired to threaten Pastor Ajih over the land for their own selfish reasons.
"The new owner of the land fenced the land and some people pulled the fence down in the dead of the night.
"When some policemen visited me during their investigation of the matter, I made a statement telling them that Pastor Ajih was the bona fide owner of the land, but some of the family members also came to threaten me for speaking the truth. They told me that I should go back to the police to withdraw my statement if I didn't want trouble and that they will drive me away from my own portion of land if I continued to support Pastor."
Meanwhile, Hon Atigwe has advised Pastor Ajih to meet the sellers from his people to defend his stands at the Aji Elders Council where the matter was reported for possible settlement, adding that he would never promote forceful acquisition of ones rightful property.