From Uchenna Ezeadigwe
The Town Union and Council of Elders of Atani community in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra otherwise referred to as Ndi-Ichie Atani, has dismissed as baseless and malicious the allegation by one Chijioke Mbanefo who pointed accusing fingers to the Chairman of Ogbaru Local Government Area, Mr Arinzechukwu Awogu and the traditional ruler of Atani Community, Igwe Azuka Ngoddy to the death of one Egbunna Mbanefo who died at a building site in Atani on April 1, 2021.
News Echo gathered that Chijioke Mbanefo, in an online publication dated April 29, 2021 by ‘Nigerian notch’ had alleged that Hon. Awogu and Igwe Azuka Ngodi were masterminds of Egbunna Mbanefo’s death because of interest they have in transactions over a parcel of land that was under dispute. According to the publication, the land in question was purchased from Ogene family of Umuonwuachu family of Umuoniha kindred.
The elders who in separate sittings at the palace of Igwe Azuka Ngoddy and the palace of Late Igwe Chukwujindu heard the petition brought against Chijioke Mbanefo, and ruled that it was mischievous linking the Council Boss and Igwe Azuka Ngoddy with the death of Egbunna Mbanefo.
According to reports, Mbanefo claimed it belonged to the entire Umuoniha Kindred and that the deceased was a member of the family claiming that the parcel of land belonged to the larger Umuoniha kindred not Umuonwuachu family before he was allegedly murdered.
Aspeaking during the meeting Awogu said he was dismayed over the allegation linking him with the death of Egbunna Mbanefo explaining that he was not involved in the death or alleged murder of the deceased adding that he did not know him apart from the fact that he was identified as Atani man while he petitioned against Mr Chijioke Mbanefo for false accusation and defamation.
“I have not come to speak about the rightful owners or otherwise of the land from where I facilitated 110 plots for an Argo-Allied company, as the Customary Right of Occupancy as well as the Certificate of Occupancy have all been issued to the Agro-Allied by relevant authorities.
“Let me also state that I was not aware of any police investigation before now on Mr. Egbunna Mbanefo’s death, talk more of stopping the investigation or ordering the police not to arrest suspect(s), the Atani DPO and the Area Commander are there and can be reached for details.
Hon Awogu equally dismissed the claim that he compensated the Ogene family for the land by making one of their sons a Councillor which he said was baseless as there was no connection between the Ward-political process that produced the Ward Councilor in 2019 and land transaction that was done in 2020.
Speaking on behalf of Igwe Ngodi, Chief Daniel Nwabueze noted that Chijioke Mbanefo was duly served the summon and wondered why he would ignore an invitation to a place where he could state his case.
Nwabueze who is the (Asi-Eze) said Atani as a community would follow up the matter with every seriousness. He said that Chijioke has refused to honour previous invitations extended to him, that the community would invite the Police over Chijioke Mbanefo’s defamatory publications.
When contacted, Chijioke Mbanefo said he received the summons but refused to honour it because of personal reasons and maintained that he will not honor any invitation by the community.
Reacting, DSP Toochukwu Ikenga, Police Public Relations Officer said the matter had been reported to the police and it was being handled by the State Criminal Investigation Department.
Meanwhile, several efforts made to get reactions from some other members of the Ogene family, who might be witness was not successful as at press time.