What may have started as a little misunderstanding over who gets what in the sharing of their late father’s bequests has turned into a bloody fracas.
The hitherto calm, peaceful town of Amannachi in Orsu local government area of Imo state, was thrown into confusion recently following devastating fracas among the children of Late Chief Cyprian Anamegokwu Orjiukwu.
The people of Amannachi are yet to come to terms what befell the community in which family house of Late Chief Orjiukwu was destroyed. The actions of his children would certainly make the Late patriarch turning in anger and utter disappointment wherever he is now. It was learnt that he did everything to ensure that his family remained together when he joined his ancestors.
In the wake of the destruction of one of the family houses, a woman identified as Mrs Catherine Orjiukwu and her two kids who were said to be living in the house could not be found, their whereabouts yet unknown.
When News Point visited the community, it was gathered that the children of late Chief Orjiukwu have been at daggers drawn since the Will of their late father was read to the family members.
According to findings by our reporters, the contents of the Will which were revealed on the 29th of March 2014 by the family lawyer, Mr M.U Ochieze did not go down well with some family members who alleged conspiracy and manipulations.
From our findings, we learnt that late Orjiukwu willed most of his properties including the said damaged family house to his youngest son, Onyeka Norbert. News Point also confirmed that the alleged missing persons were his (Onyeka) wife and children. Onyeka is the only son of late Orjiukwu’s fifth and youngest wife.
According to a source close to the family, the late patriarch had 10 children including Cosmos, Damain, Mathias, Remigious, Kevin, Norbert, and Keneth Orjiukwu among others.
The source who does not want his name in print told our reporters that there have been skirmishes among the children especially among the male offsprings since the demise of their father. He said though the problem in Orjiukwu’s family was not unusual as it is regular occurence in polygamous families. He however, stated that the villagers were shocked and did not envisage the problem escalating to the extent where the family house could be destroyed.
An extended family member, Mr Emma Obiaku who claimed to be present when the Will was read, narrated how it all started. According to him, those who felt they were shortchanged in the Will rejected the bequest accusing their brother Norbert Onyeka and his mother of influencing the outcome of the Will.
“They were visibly angry and mandated their ‘favoured’ brother to also reject the Will so that they could redistribute it accordingly but the brother in question refused insisting that their father’s testament would remain unchanged. That is how the fight started.”
Mr Obiaku expressed disappointment that the family could not allow the mourning period to be over before fighting one another over inheritance. He also blamed the family lawyer for not waiting at least one year before revealing what was in the Will.
Mr Obiaku disclosed that the village elders had initially intervened to save the situation from escalating but their efforts were rebuffed. “When they carried their madness to the church, the elders had to wade into the problem and sued for peace but they didn’t listen to us. They continued fighting over properties they did not acquire, dragging the family name in the mud. None of them was yielding to our plea; so the elders decided to stay away.”
On who actually destroyed the family house, Obiaku said; “I don’t know who destroyed the house. I wasn’t there when they perpetrated that dastardly act. All I can tell you is that the building is one of the properties willed to Onyeka. I was told that his wife and children were around when the building was touched and I have not heard any news of their whereabouts”.
News Point interviewed Cosmas Orjiukwu who is the eldest son of late Orjiukwu on the lingering family crisis. He admitted that there was misunderstanding emanating from their father’s Will even as he alleged that his step brother Onyeka exploited his closeness with their father to influence the Will.
Mr Comas denied any involvement by any members of the family in the destruction of the house, noting that he would not be surprised if Onyeka was behind the atrocious act to attract undue sympathy. “Onyeka is my brother. I know him very well. He’s very desperate. He can go to any length to achieve his selfish desires.”
Efforts to speak with Mr Onyeka Orjiukwu or his wife to get their own accounts were not successful as our reporters could not reach either of them. However, a villager, Mr Magnus Ubah who claimed to be privy to the happenings in the family revealed that Onyeka has fled to the United States of America, USA, following alleged incessant attacks from his step brothers.
“That family is my maternal home. So I know what is happening there. I can authoritatively tell you that Onyeka left this country since last year to US. So those telling you he could be the one that destroyed the house are lying. Onyeka left this country because of threats to his life from his brothers. Even as he has traveled abroad, they are still threatening to deal with him anytime he returns to Nigeria”, Ubah stated.
On the whereabouts of Onyeka’s family, Ubah said he and others were still searching for them. “We don’t know what has happened to them but we are believing God that they are still alive and okay.”