‘Those arrested invaded palace, beat up chiefs’ — Ned Nwoko speaks on Delta land tussle

Ned Nwoko, a former house of representatives member, has broken his silence on his involvement in a protracted land tussle in a Delta community.

The businessman had been in the news after Pamela Ifejoku, daughter of a community leader in Idumeje-Ugboko village, pleaded with the politician to facilitate the release of Okey Ifejoku, her father, from police detention.

Pamela had accused Nwoko of being behind the arrest of his rivals with respect to the land dispute.

Court documents seen by TheCable showed that a Delta court had ordered the release of Ifejoku and five others following legal advice from the state’s Department of Public Prosecution (DPP).

In an interview with BBC Igbo, Nwoko denied any involvement in their arrest. He said those in detention are being prosecuted for meting out violence on the community after a disagreement during the land tussle.

“Some misinformation is deliberately being spread on social media by Pamela and some other people,” Nwoko said.

“Understand the background of the crisis in my village. For those in court, it’s because of the violence they visited on the community. They took the chief, women, the youth from their homes to the palace and beat them to a pulp.

“The prosecution of the guys who committed these crimes is ongoing. They are the oppressors, not me. I am standing for the oppressed, the family of those who were killed. So much nonsense has been said about land.

“It has nothing to do with the land. I followed due process in applying for land. I got the king to approve it; he wrote a letter and signed it. He put together the land allocation committee that looked into my application.

“And there’s an MOU signed with the community where they would have 40 percent of the golf course. In addition, I have the certificate of occupancy given by the government. So there is no issue about land.

“A farmer went to court. I’ve spent over N300 million compensating. That land belongs to the community. The files are there. The report of the governor’s committee by Chief Uzor is there. What more do you want to talk about?”

Nwoko, however, failed to specifically speak on the case of the detained Ifejoku, who is the head of Idumuje-Ugboko Development Union (IUDU).