BUT for the timely intervention of the police and Abia State House of Assembly, blood would have flowed freely in Amaiyi Okpo Ihechiowa community of Arochukwu Council area of Abia State, following a land dispute between the Catholic Church and some members of the community.
Some members of the community led by the current chairman of Arochukwu
Local Government Council, Chief Kalu James Kalu, are laying claim to a
parcel of land the community freely donated to the Catholic Church since
1989 for the purpose of developing the sleeping rural community.
Trouble began when an indigene of the community, Rev. Dr. Peter Amah
Ole, an American based Catholic Priest, with the permission of the
church, decided to build a Catholic hospital in a portion of the land
for the community.
But the idea was opposed by the Council chairman,
Kalu James Kalu and his group who claimed that that the portion of the
land does not belong to the church.
They were also said to have alleged that Rev. Fr. Ole was building the
hospital for himself and not for the church, a claim promptly dismissed
by the Catholic Diocese of Umuahia, which confirmed its authority for
Rev. Ole to build the hospital for the church.
In fact, Kalu and his group were even alleged to have used thugs to
attempt to stop the contractor building the hospital from working on the
Hospital for the church
Irked by their action, Rev Fr. Amah Ole petitioned the Abia State House
of Assembly through his representative, Hon. Luke Onyeani.
petition dated February 14, 2017, Ole alerted the House of a charged
“security situation” over a piece of land donated to the Catholic Church
measuring about 4.126 hectares donated by “my people of Amaiyi Okpo”.
“Development started in the land in 2010 with the permission of the
Catholic Bishop of Umuahia. I, Rev. Peter Amah Ole sponsoring the
project through my non-profit organization based in the United States of
“After commissioning the hospital, the current Arochukwu L.G.A. Chairman
and his two brothers [allegedly] hired some people to disrupt the
project from taking off.
The Chairman argued that the Bishop is not
aware of the project and that I am doing it for personal benefit.
Bishop came to our village with a letter denying Kalu James Kalu’s claim
and affirming his permission of the ongoing project.
“Since his election as the chairman, his disruption of the project and
[alleged] threat to many community members have significantly taken
dangerous dimension, leading to a breach of public peace and order.
This hospital is what Government could have done, but I took it up as an
individual for the benefit of the Church and Okpo community.
Kalu for sheer jealousy wants to disallow our people from the benefit
of this modern hospital which has been equipped”, Rev. Ole said in the
The Catholic Bishop of Umuahia Diocese, Dr. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji had
in a letter dated 19th December, 2015, and addressed to the Amaiyi Okpo
Community, confirmed that the church authorized the building of the
hospital by Rev. Fr. Ole.
“I wish to state that the Catholic Diocese of Umuahia has a persisting
interest in the land and has not handed over the property to any
individual or family. Furthermore, I attest that Rev. Fr. Peter Amah has
my permission and consent to build a hospital on the site on behalf of
the Catholic Diocese of Umuahia for the benefit of the community.
“This hospital is owned by the Catholic Church and is to be called Holy
Family Catholic Hospital, Okpo Ihechiowa. It will be managed by the
Sisters of Jesus the Saviour, a Catholic Religious Congregation
established by Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Edeh at Elele. The construction of the
Convent to accommodate the Sisters has commenced”, Bishop Ugorji
clarified in his letter.
To further clarify ownership of the land and douse tension, the
traditional ruler of the community, Eze-Ogo Sunday Kalu Ole wrote to the
commissioner of police on 12th August 2015, stating the position of the
community on the land in question.
In the letter, he affirmed that the “land was donated to the Catholic
Church by Amaiyi people through Adaanu Age Grade of Amaiyi Okpo
Ihechiowa; that the Community is very happy that the land is being
developed by the Church through Rev. Fr. Peter Amah Ole after fifty
years; that the community has no intention to stop and will not stop the
ongoing project embarked on by Rev. fr. Peter Amah Ole”.
The letter was
also signed by six other community chiefs.
Meanwhile, the matter is being treated by the public petitions committee
of the Abia State House of Assembly which last Thursday summoned the
Council chairman and his group as well as the community leaders and Rev.