By Anayo Okoli
Igga autonomous community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu has dragged their traditional ruler, Igwe Herbert Ukuta and Enugu State commissioner of police to Court, alleging violation of the fundamental rights of some of their leaders through threat, harassing and intimidating them.
In an application for order of fundamental rights, filed at an Enugu High court by four of their leaders, the community prays the court to restrain the police from arresting, threatening and intimidating their leaders, allegedly at the prompting of their traditional ruler.
Joined in the suit are their monarch, Igwe Herbert Ukuta, Enugu State police commissioner, one Inspector Paul Igwe and the Enugu State Government. The applicants alleged that the harassment and intimidation being meted to them are “wrongful, unlawful and a gross violation of their fundamental rights”.
The application filed by Anthony Okonkwo, Benedict Okoye, Celestine Nnachetam and Richard Okoye for themselves and on behalf of the Igga community, said that they decided to approach the court following threats to arrest and detain them, allegedly at the behest of their monarch. According to them, their offence was that they prevented the monarch and his group from leasing their communal land to a firm, insisting that the entire community be involved in the lease deal and that the proceeds of the lease agreement go to the entire community.
Their action followed a petition from their monarch and others to the police, accusing them of “obtaining property under false pretences and criminal trespass to land belonging to the Igga, Ojjor and Ogurugu communities”.
Following the petition, the community alleged that the police have “threatened, harassed, intimidated and arrested its members and have continued to do so to the extent that they no longer sleep in their houses for fear of arrest and being dumped in jail”, allegedly at the behest of Mr. Herbert Ukuta and the Enugu State government.