A Magistrate Court sitting in Umuahia, the Abia State capital on Tuesday, sentenced six persons to one year jail term for illegal sale of communal land.
The convicts were all found guilty for the sale of the said land belonging to Umuenyere Alayi Autonomous Community In Bende Local Government Area of Abia state.
In an interview with Abia Pulse News, the President General of Umuenyere Alayi Autonomous Community, Professor Udo Nwokocha, gave a clearer insight into the crime and the perpetrators.
Prof. Nwokocha also revealed that the seven accused was headed by Gabriel Eke, who was reportedly said to have met his demice last week.
The six persons present in court and convicted were, Agu Eke, Onwukwe Joseph Ogbuala, Okorie Okorie, Anya Ele Kanu, Agu Emmanuel and the land buyer, Christiana Eke.
Barrister Sampson Onyemauche, the prosecuting counsel and O. C legal zone 9 police headquarters who saw to the arraignment and the conclusion of the matter also spoke to our correspondent.
“There were four counts, one year per count and the charge. The court in its magnanimity gave them one year sentence. That is to say each of the convicts are to serve one year with hard labour.” Barr. Sampson explained.
In further reaction to the judgment, Prof. Nwokocha describe the verdict as victory for the rule of law and victory for peace.
Also expressing his satisfaction about the verdict, was the traditional ruler of Umuenyere Alayi Autonomous Community, Eze-Elect Pastor, Ignatius Iheke Uche.
The traditional ruler also affirmed that the crime was committed and the judgement served.
His words: “The convicts decided to sell the common partrimony of our place and converted the money for their personal use.
“I am satisfied that justice is done but on the other way round, the court was supposed to give them a longer sentence so that it will be a strong warning to others who wants to indulge in such crime.
“It’s a warning to our growing youths, they believe they can sell the community lands to make ends meet. That is not the right thing, they should be mindful of what they do. Nobody has right to sell that land except through the union.”Eze Uche warned.
The traditional ruler also affirmed that the community has a land committee affirmed by the constitution that binds Umuenyere Alayi Autonomous Community.
Thus, he said ” if anyone wants a land to use or build, the Union should be approached with application” . Eze Ignatius Iheke Uche advised.
The Culprits were later moved to Afara correctional center.