Residents of Umuezeboko Umuoru Uga community, Aguata Local Govt Area, Anambra state now live in fear over an alleged attack on Umearokwu family and land grabbing by Fulani men hired by the Fire and Miracle Ministries.
According to sources, the alleged attack by the suspected herdsmen which occurred over the weekend had forced residents of the community to flee for their lives.
Narrating his ordeal in the hands of the church and the suspected herdsmen, a member of Umearokwu family, Uzoma, who was attacked and severely injured in an attempt to reclaim the family land from the attackers, accused his elder brother, Ugochukwu Umearokwu and mother, Mrs Jenneth, of being the mastermind of the attack and seizure of the land belonging to the family by the church and the herdsmen.
“Our elder brother, Ugochukwu, in collaboration with our mother, Mrs. Jenneth, allocated the family land to the Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministries here in Uga without the consent of the members of the family (siblings) who jointly own the land.”
“The fact is that our mother joined the church as a member about four months ago and the church brainwashed her to the extent that she had to discuss with our elder brother, Ugochukwu, and both donated the land to the church without our consent.
Immediately the church embarked on the construction of a church building and was at the foundation partition, I went there to ask them why they were encroaching on our land.”
On arrival, I asked the Pastor of the Mountain of Fire and Miracle, Chukwudi Onochie, who was giving directives to the workers that I later found out were Fulani herdsmen engaged by the church to scare us from coming close to the land and he ordered them to deal ruthlessly with me.
They beat, hit me with machete and impounded the motorcycle went with. I had no other option than to escape to the
Aguata Police Area Command where I met the Second in Command (2ic) to the Police Area commander and lodged a complaint”.
In her reaction also, a daughter to the Umearokwu family, Uchenna, lamented that their elder brother in connivance with their mother would allocate family land to the church just to express appreciation that their mother has become a member of the church at the detriment of the entire family that was not consulted prior to allocation of the land to the church.
“What our elder brother and mother did was wrong. How can both of them donate family land to the church without consulting the entire owners of the land?”
In his defence, the Pastor denied all the allegations levelled against him, adding that the land in dispute personally belonged to Ugochukwu and not the family.
“That land belongs to Ugochukwu, it is his own share of the landed property shared among the Umearokwu siblings and he personally decided to give it out to the church free of charge and that is their anger, that he did not sell it so that they will benefit from the proceeds realised.
“He did not jointly give the land with the mother to the church as his siblings claimed”.
On the issue of suspected Fulani herdsmen attack the pastor said that “they are not Fulani herdsmen but northerners precisely from Plateau state, that work with the church, anywhere we have building project, they do the work. When this Uzoma came with his bike we were doing the partition for the foundation and he started pushing the workers and in the process, there was a minor scuffle, and he ran to the police Area Command and we were all invited to make a statement.
He added, “We did not impound his motorbike as alleged”.
The Pastor disclosed that the case is being looked into now by the Umearokwu kindred with a view to settling it as police advised them and reiterated that for now, the church would not continue work on the site until the matter is resolved.
When contacted for reaction, Ugochukwu declined to comment, saying “I will not comment if you don’t tell me your source of this crisis”.
However, he later demanded to know how the press got wind of the crisis.