Tension is building up in Ihekwuenu-Aku autonomous community in Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area of Enugu State as a house built by some concerned family members for Mr. Anibueze Nnadi, a visually impaired man was destroyed again by suspected hired thugs.
It would be recalled that in September 2021, the house of the blind man which was under construction and was receiving finishing touches was completely pulled down by some thugs whom the family members alleged were sent by the traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Christopher Okwor, who was dragging ownership of the land where the house was built with the blind man
The circumstances surrounding the demolition of the visually impaired man’s house generated protests accusations and counter-accusations in the community which attracted the attention of the state government under the administration of Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who investigated the matter and suspended the traditional ruler (Igwe Okwor).
Speaking to reporters in Nsukka on Wednesday, Nnadi, the blind man said that some people forced his door open in the middle of the night, beat him up before destroying his house.
“You can see my condition, I’m blind, I was sleeping when some people forced my door open, beat me, tired my mouth and my hands to prevent me from shouting, and dumped me outside the house. It was later when they left that some family members saw where they dumped me and told me that they had destroyed my house again.
“I don’t know why these people are after a poor blind man like me who some kind-hearted people built this two-bedroom apartment to change the collapsed mud house I was living in.
“This is the second time they are destroying my house, government should urgently come to my rescue before they will come back and kill me,” he said.
Mr. Sunday Ezemagu, a nephew to the visually impaired man who conducted newsmen around the destroyed house said that the incident occurred last Saturday, October 7, around 11:50 pm.
He said that his house was very close to the blind man’s house and he was sleeping that faithful night when he heard a loud sound and peeped from the window and saw some people wielding dangerous weapons while demolishing his uncle’s house.
“I opened my door quietly and sneaked to a dark corner where I saw Uzorchukwu Okwor, son of our suspended traditional ruler directing his boys to destroy my uncle’s house.
“It pains me because this is the second time this set of people are demolishing this poor blind man’s house which everybody in the community has attested that the land belongs to him. This building they are destroying is an effort of some concerned members of Ezemagu family who built this new house to enable him to pack out from the dilapidated mud house he was living in,” he said.
Speaking further, Ezemagu said that the 67-year-old blind man has been battling with other health challenges, adding that he is the only surviving son of his late father.
Also speaking, Mrs, Victoria Amuka, a sister to the blind man expressed shock and sadness at how the thugs manhandled his brother, before destroying his house.
“I heard this last Sunday morning, I’m the one taking care of him, I visit him every day from my husband’s place, my brother told me that he was beaten, his mouth tied with his shirt, that they also tired his hands and dragged him outside before destroying his house.
“They are doing this to him because they felt that he has nobody to speak for him, they want him dead so that they can claim all his landed properties, I’m afraid if nothing is done to call the perpetrators to order they might kill him any time from now.
“I appeal to the state government to intervene and rescue this poor blind man from the hands of our suspended Igwe and his agents who are hell-bent on compounding his already deteriorated living condition,” she said.
Reacting to the latest development, Mr. Sylvester Okpe, the eldest man from Uwanu-Otobo Ihekwuenu-Aku wondered why anybody would destroy the blind man’s house again when they have given witness to the government, police, and other authorities that the land where the building was built is part of the ancestral land of the blind man.
“Our suspended traditional ruler is taking undue advantage of the poor man, the fact remains that the land in question belongs to the blind man.
“Unfortunately, this matter is still dragging two years later, we have been to Enugu where I told the state government, the police, and even the Igbo-Etiti LG authority that the land belongs to Anibueze Nnadi, that Igwe and his agents should desist from disturbing the poor man.
“The irony of the whole thing is that even the parcel of land where Igwe is currently building his own house was given to him by the blind man’s family.
“Government should call him to order, stop him from dragging the land with the blind man as well as instruct him to rebuild the destroyed house,” he said.
Also reacting, Mr. Anthony Didiugwu, the head of neighbourhood watch in the community confirmed the incident but said that they are yet to identify those that committed the crime.
“I’m aware of what happened, we are working towards identifying and tracking down those who destroyed the blind man’s house,” he said.
Efforts to get comment from Okwor, the suspended traditional ruler of the community failed as several calls and text messages sent to his mobile phone were not replied to as of the time of filing this report.