23rd February, 2021
Ned Nwoko has reacted to the publication by Gabriel Ogbechie titled ‘Ned Nwoko’s assassination story, a hoax’.
Nwoko in a press release made available to newsmen on Monday called Ogbechie bluff while stating that the Rainoil boss, was desperate to exonerate himself.
See the full statement below:
Our attention has been drawn to the falsehoods, defamation and outright personal attack on the person of Prince Ned Nwoko, published in the print and social media by a frustrated Rainoil boss, Gabriel Ogbechie.
Ordinarily, Prince Ned Nwoko would have totally ignored this pedestrian writing that stood fact on its head and one that provoked only laughter in Idumuje-Ugboko, a clear mockery of the writer whose treacherous history and antics are well established and known to a community that is quite conversant with the ugly tales of the same man they do not see in their community more than once in two years and who in spite of the mansion he built in their village has never slept there for a night but prefers hiding in a hotel in Asaba, the state capital.
How could a man that paints such a peace maker portrait of himself and who ought to be loved and adored by the community ironically dread passing a night among his people?
Such a man, as Ogbechie, deserves no continued response from Prince Ned.
We are however compelled to respond for a mere reaffirmation of the facts, which are well documented and easy to cross-check and ascertained, so that some reading publics may not be hoodwinked.
From Ogbechie’s own writing it is clear that he is bruised and pricked by two fundamental issues. The first is Prince Ned’s acquisition of land in Idumuje-Ugboko for his STARS University and golf course while the second is the failure of Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko to get a Staff of Office.
Prince Chukwunonso is Ogbechie’s sponsored contestant for the throne of Idumuje-Ugboko but who has been outrightly rejected by all the high ranking Chiefs, from the Iyase to the Odogwu, Elders in Council and the ordinary people of Idumuje-Ugboko community.
This is an irreducible fact. And it is the enmity arising from the above two issues that culminated in the plot to assassinate Prince Ned Nwoko.
It is therefore easy for even a naive observer to look at the direction of Ogbechie if Prince Ned suffers even a curious stomach upset, how much more an assassination threat.
We shall therefore clear these two issues by bringing documented facts to the fore to expose Ogbechie’s dubious claims.
1. On acquired land for STARS University and golf course, Ogbechie wrote, “The King simply requests that Ned Nwoko follows due process; put in an application for the land, pay the token that is due to the community and get the land. With regards to the land that belongs to private individuals, he was advised to engage the owners of the land and take the necessary legal steps to acquire it.”
Then Ogbechie adds the lie from the pit of hell. Hear him, “However, Ned Nwoko wants none of it, he believes he is above the laws of the community and is not ready to conform to the simple dictates of communal living “.
The summary of Ogbechie’s hypothesis is that Prince Ned refused to even put in an application. He simply grabbed the land and asked the king and the community plus private landowners to go to hell.
Now, is this claim by Ogbechie rational? Does it make any sense? How could Prince Ned Nwoko, a world-renowned International Lawyer, act so brazenly in breach of the law?
This was the same highly reverred Lawyer who fought one of the most formidable institutions on earth, the Paris Club, for ten solid years for the sake of his country, to retrieve billions of dollars wrongly taken from his country by the powerful countries that make up this club.
He fought this long, dangerous legal battle without a kobo paid to him by his country.
He won this battle and till today, Nigeria, his fatherland, is still being paid billions of dollars now known globally as Paris Club Refund.
How on earth could such a man now go to his village to flex muscle, to act in brazen violation of customary or conventional law because he doesn’t want to pay some token to a few villagers for village land?
Prince Ned’s financial standing is well in the public space. How much will these private lands cost that he could not pay?
So, this claim is at best absurd. Of course he has paid up all the tenant farmers on the Idumuje-Ugboko Development Land and private owners , even built houses for some.
There is only one family left to be paid and this is due to a running feud in the family about who should receive the money. Their money sits in the bank waiting for a resolution of their conflict.
The hard fact is that everyone in Idumuje-Ugboko knows Prince Ned is a very kind and compassionate man and he loves them. Therefore, it is inconceivable that the same man will covertly or overtly try to oppress them.
Now, here are the facts of the matter.
1. Prince Ned Nwoko applied for two lands, for his university permanent site and the golf course on March 16th, 2015, through his company, Linas International.
The King, HRM, Obi Albert Nwoko III, PhD, MON, subjected his application to due process by making it pass through the Elders in Council and the Izu Ani, that is the Peoples Assembly consisting of the four federating villages of Idumuje-Ugboko who deliberated on it.
Then, the elite Idumuje-Ugboko Development Union, IUDU, under the presidency of late Bennett Odor invited all the stakeholders in Idumuje-Ugboko development and Prince Ned, so that the billionaire Lawyer and businessman could make a presentation.
This gathering of iconic indigenes then would subject him to a rigorous series of question and answer session before giving their own approval.
It was in fact the IUDU that wrote the Chairman of Aniocha North Local Government Area, LGA, urging him to issue a Customary Right of Occupancy to Prince Ned because he had met all the criteria required and had their full support.
His Royal Highness, Obi Nwoko III, wrote his own letter of approval on April 10th, 2015 on his own letterhead with the inscription, “OBI AGBOGIDI UKWU His Royal Majesty, (Dr) Obi Agbogidi Nwoko III, (JP), MON”.
Titled, “Request for additional 90 Hectares of Land for Golf Course Development and Land for Sports University”, the king went ahead to write as follows,
“The above request of 16/3/2015 has been passed to me by the Elders-in-Council. I praise your initiation and restlessness in lifting the name of Idumuje-Ugboko to enviable heights.
I have carefully considered your request for additional 90 hectares of land for the establishment of Idumuje-Ugboko Golf Course and a further 2 mile by 2 mile land for a sports university and I am happy to inform you as follows:
1. The town will go into partnership with your company by investing the capitalised value of the land at the appropriate rate in the golf course.
The land for the university shall be donated by the village.
The King then instructed the land to be allocated should be mapped out of the kingdom’s Development Land while the tenant farmers should be compensated.
He instructed the kingdom’s second in command, the Iyase, Chief Ogwu, the head of Onotu, a body in charge of the management of the whole community’s land, to see to the proper execution of the land allocation and partnership with the support of legal minds and all necessary professionals from the community.
From the above, it is evident, indeed crystal clear that Prince Ned applied for the land for his developmental projects and got unequivocal approval.
The truth however is that if you carry out an autopsy on the life of the Rainoil Chief Executive, Ogbechie, you are likely to unveil a prognosis of acute lies flowing in his blood.
Therefore Ogbechie is likely to insist that Prince Ned did not apply, that those approvals were forged like some of his comrades in evil machinations claimed on Sunrise, a live Channels television broadcast.
But here below is an additional proof and an indisputable fact that Prince Ned duly applied for the land and importantly, that all Ogbechie’s warped claims are indeed products of his heat oppressed mind.
2. When all Ogbechie’s sadistic machinations and litigations to stop a formidable Prince Ned, a man much more civilised and more exposed than him, had failed and the university project looked unstoppable, Ogbechie in 2020 used some of his lackeys led by Chris Aligbe, Okey Ifejokwu and Banye, among others, to write a petition to the Inspector General of Police, IGP, accusing Prince Ned of all manner of crimes including forcibly acquiring their land, intimidation and harassment of their ‘king’, Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko.
The IGP Monitoring Unit swung into action, arrived Idumuje-Ugboko and meticulously investigated all the allegations in the petition.
At the end of their mission, their report exonerated Prince Ned from all the accusations levelled against him.
Not one was Ogbechie and his proxies vindicated. And don’t forget, they were the petitioners.
Here are excerpts from the police report dated November 23rd, 2020.
3. On the allegation that Prince Ned did not apply but forcefully took private lands and lands that belonged to helpless local farmers, the police in the outcome of their investigation wrote in 3 (iii) “That, in the year 2000, the suspect (that is Prince Ned Nwoko) applied for a parcel of land in the Idumuje-Ugboko community which was approved”.
The police went further to clarify its findings as it wrote, “Gleaned from available documents, the suspect’s application was processed and endorsed with the consent of the then Obi of Idumuje-Ugboko Kingdom, HRM Obi A.O Nwoko III (Now late) wherein 33.4 hectares of land were given to him.
In 3 (iv) the police stated a further outcome of their investigation unambiguously, “That in 2015, the suspect (that is Prince Ned Nwoko) through his company, (Linas International Ltd) requested for additional 90 hectares of land from the same Idumuje-Ugboko Community through the Traditional Council for the establishment of Golf Course and Sports University.
In 3 (v), the police continued, “That the suspect’s (that is Prince Ned Nwoko’s) request mentioned in 3(iv) above was considered, the community and the suspect entered a Memorandum of Understanding which was signed by both parties and their representatives.
Finally, the police captured the critical part of the outcome of their investigation which once again is a testimony to what Prince Ned has maintained in all his statements.
This is the police in 3(vi), “That after the land transaction was consummated, Certificate of Customary Right of Occupancy for same was issued to him ( that is Prince Ned ) by the Aniocha North Local Government Area”.
Indeed everything they wrote to the police is, to borrow Ogbechie’s own word, a hoax. The police was so miffed that the report under Recommendation asked that the petitioners be charged to court and prosecuted for giving false information to the police.
Now, from the above outcome based on a petition by Ogbechie’s agents, is it not shameful, disgraceful and grossly dishonourable that a man of Gabriel Ogbechie’s standing could take pages of print and social media to brazenly lie and deceive undiscerning members of the public?
It is important to note that Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko, backed financially by Ogbechie, had approached five different courts to stop Prince Ned from using the land that the community duly approved for him. He lost the entire five cases before Ogbechie in utter frustration following serial defeats in court wrote that petition to the IGP through his sidekicks.
These crass failures explain why he and his embittered brigade could not stop the foundation laying ceremony of the university and the subsequent construction work going on at the University and Golf sites.
But let us further interrogate Ogbechie’s warped and delusional claims before getting to the assassination plot.
4. ON STARS UNIVERSITY AND PRINCE CHUKWUNONSO’S DREAM TO BE KING
Ogbechie wrote, ” I am in support of the university, the king (meaning Prince Chukwunonso) is in support of the university…..The King…desires his Staff of Office. Ned Nwoko has used every subterfuge in the book to ensure the king does not get his staff of Office “.
He adds, “The King and 12 other members of the community have been accused and charged to a court in Abuja on account of terrorism”. Ogbechie also lamented further on how the police at the behest of Prince Ned invaded the Idumuje-Ugboko Palace, picked up Prince Chukwunonso, his supposed king, and locked him up in Asaba and then the two members of the community held in Abuja for “murder of someone only known to Ned Nwoko” in addition to the three others being held at Suleja Prison for terrorism.
That Ogbechie could puke lies like this simply shows his deep-seated hypocrisy and shocking insensitivity to the gruesome murder of an innocent young man, a motorbike rider called Cyprian Kumiolun, shot at a point-blank range in broad daylight by hoodlums loyal to Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko on front of the Palace.
But, let us first dissect Ogbechie and his king, Prince Chukwunonso’s professed support for the university as lamely mentioned by Ogbechie. This, for want of words to use, is purely dishonesty of the highest order; it is both fraud and bigotry. And here are the reasons.
The whole crisis in Ugboko today, both with his cousin, Prince Ned and the kingship tussle were provoked and inflamed by Chukwunonso. He was at the final meeting of stakeholders initiated by the IUDU President, Bennett Odor, where the final endorsement of Prince Ned’s heralded developmental projects were given by everyone present.
He didn’t oppose it. Indeed his younger brother, Prince Barrister Mbanefo Nwoko played a key role in the drafting of the Memorandum of Understanding between Idumuje-Ugboko Community and Linas International Ltd, Prince Ned’s company.
There was absolute harmony, good spirit and joy in Idumuje-Ugboko as the people looked forward with optimism towards the transformation of their little, hilly picturesque village into a university town. Then Gabriel Ogbechie snuck into the scene and Idumuje-Ugboko has never been the same again.
5. THE ENTRY OF GABRIEL OGBECHIE AND THE TRAGIC EPISODES THAT FOLLOWED
Rainoil boss, Gabriel Ogbechie, was unnerved by the quantum land approved for Prince Ned’s projects, without thinking of the huge equity stake that the community has in the project.
He wanted the same land given to Prince Ned for the university permanent site for his (Ogbechie’s) own palm plantation. He was to be compensated with the land after delivering Staff of Office to the illegitimate king, Prince Chukwunonso.
He also nursed a strong ambition to become the Iyase, second in command to the king, despite the fact that the Iyase was still alive.
He could not get that dreamland or become the Iyase while Obi Albert Nwoko III was still alive because he, Ogbechie, had done little or nothing significant for the village to deserve such a high honour apart from the fact that there was already an accomplished Iyase, Chief Chris Ogwu, an accomplished Journalist, a scion of Idumuje-Ugboko who was and still is alive and living up to his traditional obligations.
A manipulative Ogbochie was left with one choice and it was to manipulate the Prince, Chukwunonso, to achieve his self-centred goals.
The danger signal became glaring when Prince Nonso as he is often called marched with blistering anger to his aged uncle to ask why the land was approved for Prince Ned.
The bewildered uncle politely asked why he didn’t raise his objection at the stakeholders meeting and other series of meetings where approvals were given.
Prince Chukwunonso yelled and vowed that his own cousin, Prince Ned, would only build that university over his dead body.
Meanwhile, a frustrated Ogbechie had to buy 5000 hectares of arable land in Illah/Ugbolu/Akwu Ukwu displacing over 2000 people without any form of compensation.
That is the cause of the war raging presently within those three communities.
However, a few days after Prince Nonso’s confrontation with his uncle, the community woke up to see a letter circulating all over the market and in the church.
The letter purportedly from the king, Prince Nonso’s father, claimed that he, the king, did not sign any letter approving land for the university and golf course.
The community, aware of the truth, froze in shock. There was confusion. The King was still alive and though about 90 at this time was still a bit active without any sign of senility.
So, the chiefs, the Obi-in-Council, elders, all decided to see the Obi to ascertain the veracity of the letter. But Prince Nonso blocked access to his dad, refusing the people from seeing him.
Out of frustration and a noble quest to unravel the mystery surrounding the letter in circulation, a respected member of the community, a one time President of IUDU, Prince Walters Eziashi, petitioned the Delta state Police Commissioner to investigate the source of the letter.
At last, the police discovered the letter dated April 12th 2015 was forged by Prince Chukwunonso and his brothers. They were indicted and the Director of Public Prosecution in Delta state recommended that they be prosecuted for forgery at the Chief Magistrate Court 1, Asaba.
They were arraigned and granted bail but have since jumped bail.
Prince Nonso then went on a voyage of Forum shopping, approaching every court in Delta state to reverse the approval given to Prince Ned.
He has since lost five of the concluded cases. There are still about 15 more cases.
In all these litigations, Prince Ned is neither a Plaintiff nor a Claimant.
It is Prince Chukwunonso, financed by Ogbechie, that has been dragging him from one court to another yet he has not won a single case.
If you doubt the above narrative, the police report on the outcome of the investigations following a petition to the IGP against Prince Ned by Ogbechie’s agents will serve as a further testament.
In 3 (vii) of the investigation report, the police wrote on the forged letter thus; “That in the year 2016, the documents concerning the land transactions issued to the suspect (that is Prince Ned) later became a subject of petition which was investigated by Delta state Police Command and the suspect (Prince Ned Nwoko) was exonerated, while the Prince, Chukwunonso Nwoko…. and others were charged to court for the offence of Forgery”.
It is important to note that Prince Ned was constantly referred to in the report as Suspect because it was Ogbechie and his crew of brigands that wrote the petition accusing Prince Ned of land grabbing, of intimidating their ‘king’ and of terrorising them using the police.
At the end, the intellective Lawyer, business magnate and respectable politician, Prince Ned, was exonerated from all the claims by his bitter foes epitomised by Ogbechie.
6. On the Issues of Staff of Office, harassment of Prince Chukwunonso, murder, terrorism and plot to assassinate Prince Ned Nwoko,
Gabriel Ogbechie’s comments once again demonstrated his scant regard for facts.
To begin with, Obi Albert Nwoko died suddenly on February 6th, 2017. He was 91 and his death shouldn’t ordinarily come as a shock.
But the old man was still strong. He came out for his breakfast that morning and retired to his room to relax as he often did. Less than 15 minutes later two of Prince Nonso’s arch supporters, people you could describe as his henchmen came and proceeded to see the Obi in his room.
Then they emerged about 30 minutes after to tell the little girl in the lounge, Nonso’s half-sister, Princess Chidinma Nwoko that the Obi was dead.
It was too sudden and suspicious. Did the Obi die as soon as they entered or minutes later? Why did they stroll out casually to break such grave news to a little girl? Why did it take about 30 minutes before they came out to announce it? Was the king dead before they entered or he died in their hands?
The entire village was still trying to come to terms with this tragic episode when Prince Nonso breached all Idumuje-Ugboko custom and tradition, royal rites and rituals to bury his father, the king, with support of his brothers, without the chiefs or elders and on the same day he died and went ahead to proclaim himself the king on the same night.
The two wives of his father then ran to the police to demand that the body of their husband should be exhumed for autopsy. But Prince Nonso would not yield to this. Instead, he ran to the court and obtained an injunction stopping the police from the exhumation of the king for autopsy.
He did everything to frustrate the proceedings in court to prevent the autopsy. If Prince Nonso and his sponsors have nothing to hide, why was he so scared stiff about a simple autopsy to verify the cause of death of his own father.
Worse still, how did he think he could usurp the throne of Idumuje-Ugboko expecting people to stand in ovation. His half brother, Prince Uche, was well qualified to be the king just like Prince Solomon Eziokwubundu Nwabuokei Nwoko.
The two, therefore, proceeded to court to contest the throne with injunctions stopping the state from recognising a man that bulldozed his way to Ugboko Palace. The cases are still pending in court. Which state then will hand over a Staff of Office to a usurper when litigations concerning that particular throne he sits are still before a court of competent jurisdiction.
Does Delta state government need Prince Ned Nwoko to do what is right before the law?
The Royal Fathers of Aniocha North LGA intervened in the course of the legal tussle and the contenders agreed to abide by the judgement of the Royal Fathers.
After a long mediation and research into history and archives, the Royal Fathers came together to pronounce Solomon Eziokwubundu Nwabuokei Nwoko, the great-grandson of Obi Nwoko the First, the Founder and first king of Idumuje-Ugboko as the rightful king on January 28th, 2021.
But because the verdict did not favour Prince Nonso, he and his cohorts including Ogbechie have not complied with the verdict.
On harassment and arrest of Prince Chukwunonso, Ogbechi knew too well that Nonso’s action prompted his arrest. Having lost about five cases in court, with the university and golf course in progress and receiving encouraging approvals from the Nigerian Universities Commission, NUC, Nonso grew increasingly frustrated.
He then invited over 30 hoodlums who unleashed terror on Idumuje-Ugboko between May 18th and 25th. The hoodlums shot an innocent motorcycle rider, Cyprian Kumiolun dead at a park right in front of the Palace, taking him to be a spy.
They also killed Kennedy Iloh, the Secretary of the Land Allocation Committee. Many houses, properties, cars were either burnt or vandalised while many high ranking Chiefs, women, youths who were deemed opposed to Prince Nonso’s ambition or to be Prince Ned’s supporters were beaten and dragged to the Palace where they were subjected to inhuman treatments in the presence of Prince Nonso.
It was the father of Solomon Kumiolun who petitioned the Commissioner of Police, Delta state when he couldn’t find the body of the son as his killers carted it away.
The police then wrote Prince Nonso and invited him several times without success as the Prince refused to show up.
Since he is not above the Law, the police marched to the Palace and arrested him. It is well documented on print and social media that Nonso apologised profusely to the police in Asaba for his serial refusal to honour the police invitation.
It was the victims of the mayhem perpetrated by the hoodlums imported by Prince Nonso that petitioned the IGP, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Nigerian Human Rights Commission who assured thorough investigation of the havoc that took place in Idumuje-Ugboko.
At the end, the perpetrators were charged with terrorism. Prince Ned is not directly involved in the case but he has made no pretences about his interest in the case because supporters of his developmental projects were also victims of the inhuman and dastardly attacks.
Ogbechie in his Vanguard publication titled ‘The Quest for Peace in Idumuje-Ugboko’ acknowledged this mayhem but claimed it was a revenge by some youths after two attacks on the Palace. But the entire Ugboko community knew he was being economical with the truth.
Indeed the 88-year-old Prince Daniel Odims Nwoko openly indicted Ogbechie in a letter he directed to him stating, “I expected you to be a mediator, not a destabiliser”. He stated further, “the kind of support you are giving Nonso, you are helping to widen the gap between Nonso and Ned, thereby destabilising the royal family and making reconciliation difficult…The feud in the family continues to drag because of your act of omission and commission”, the Octogenarian Prince warned.
Does anyone need any further illumination of the Idumuje-Ugboko crisis to appreciate the morbid role that Ogbechie has played from inception, for he is the mastermind, sponsor and promoter of the tragedy that has engulfed his once peaceful village?
THE ASSASSINATION PLOT AGAINST PRINCE NED
In Idumuje-Ugboko today, the only obstacle clearly between Gabriel Ogbechie and Prince Chukwunonso’s diabolical plans to emasculate and colonise their own people is Prince Ned.
He is the subject matter of their daily mortal dialogue. He is choking them with his deafening popularity among the ordinary people, an admiration and fanatical following he won because of concrete, evident sacrifices for their wellbeing.
Is their desperation not obvious from the over 20 cases in court filed by them or their allies or agents against Prince Ned, especially as they haven’t even won a single case?
Yet, Gabriel Ogbechie called the assassination plot a hoax. The question then is why did he deny that he was invited by the police in Abuja if he had nothing to worry about and was sure that the whole episode was a hoax.
He denied it totally when a blog publisher first called him on hearing the news of his arrest. He claimed he was in his house having lunch.
When it dawned on him that the news was trending, he then accepted that he was invited by the police but that he didn’t spend even 20 minutes at the police station.
Meanwhile, he was interrogated for over five hours and detained until his Lawyer, Ademola came and stood as Surety. That was how he was finally granted bail.
Yet Ogbechie denied ever being detained for a meeting. But not many people were surprised especially Idumuje-Ugboko indigenes because integrity is not one of natural assets and his desperate quest to actualize Prince Nonso’s kingship ambition has all the more laid bare this huge integrity deficit.
There is no question that Prince Ned has established the plot to assassinate him. The text messages are clear. He didn’t manufacture them.
And late Ossy Biose complained about distressing threats to his life when he came out of his brief imprisonment after his whistleblowing. He reported these threats to the police and other security agents.
Indeed before his death, he further statements to the police and DSS identifying the Rainoil boss as the person he was referring to.
His unceremonious demise, therefore, confirmed the credibility of his complaints about the threat to his life. It proved that the threats were real and why Prince Ned must alert the police and keep men like Ogbechie and a cohort of morbid merchants around him on the edge.
Prince Ned needed not to drag Biose’s bereaved family into the case or to the police station to establish the truth about the assassination plot against his person.
Still, that a reporter wrote Kuje Correctional facility instead of Suleja Correctional facility does not affect the essence of the story. What is at stake is whether that incident took place.
Ogbechie ridiculously claimed that his name was not mentioned in the text messages stressing that it was Prince Ned that added his name. This is such a porous statement.
Can Ogbechie then mention another name that is an oil magnate in Idumuje-Ugboko that owns many fuel stations? Even the late Ossy Biose it has been revealed mentioned his name in his last statements to the police and DSS.
The hard truth is that the police has serious work to do to penetrate the hearts and minds of those inmates behind the dreadful conversations inside the Correctional facility and to connect and track their sponsors outside.
Gabriel Ogbechie’s strident denials and the jangling discord on the print and social media must not intimidate or dissuade the police from subjecting him to critical interrogation, analysing every word and every breath that proceed from the inner recesses of his soul.