A former member of the House of Representatives, Ned Nwoko, has denied defrauding some African monarchs and leaders through fictitious giant projects he allegedly lured them to invest in.
A source had told SaharaReporters how Nwoko lured some prominent African leaders to invest in some of his ‘fictitious giant projects’.
The source added that the former lawmaker was not only subjecting his people in Delta State to destitution by forcibly taking their land but also using his political influence to detain those, who object to his schemes.
He was also accused of using his contacts to demonise the King of Idumuje-Ugboko, Obi Chukwunonso Nwoko, and stall the issuance of staff of office to him five years after he ascended the throne.
SaharaReporters had published in May how Nwoko ordered Delta State Police Command to arrest Okey Ifejoku, elected President-General of Idumeje-Ugboko Development Union in 2017.
The former lawmaker had accused Ifejoku of sponsoring the indigenes of Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State to protest against him and kick against his bid to forcibly acquire additional 90 hectares of land from an area earmarked for all indigenes of the community.
Also, the President of Idumuje-Ugboko in the Aniocha North Local Government Area of the state, Raymond Omesiete, has spent months in prison for allegedly resisting Nwoko’s attempt to forcibly acquire additional 90 hectares of land from an area earmarked for all indigenes of the community.
SaharaReporters gathered that Raymond was arrested by the police acting on Nwoko’s directive on November 23, 2020, and was detained at the police headquarters in Asaba, the state capital.
Reacting over the weekend, the media directorate of Ned Nwoko Foundation said the former lawmaker had never sought for or received funds from any company, African leader or individual on his anti-malaria project.
The team added that Nwoko went on a historic expedition to the frozen climes of Antarctica in January 2020 to draw international attention to malaria scourge in the continent; noting that he was “the first black African to make such trip, making Nigeria the 13th country in the world to have its flag hoisted in the icy South Pole”.
It maintained that the lawyer returned to Nigeria to initiate a comprehensive action plan against malaria, involving high level stakeholders’ meetings across Africa, endowment of research grants, sensitisation programmes and social mobilisation of the people, among other activities all personally funded under the foundation.
“The truth remains that Nwoko who represented Aniocha/Oshimili Federal constituency in the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003, stands tall today as the initiator of the Malaria Eradication Campaign in Africa. He continues to tirelessly deploy his personal resources, energy and time to serve humanity with salutary patriotism.
“It should be recalled that he undertook a historic expedition to the frozen climes of Antarctica in January 2020, to draw international attention to Malaria scourge in the continent, the first black African to make such trip, making Nigeria the 13th country in the world to have its flag hoisted in the icy South Pole. He returned to his fatherland to initiate a comprehensive action plan against Malaria, involving high level stakeholders’ meetings across Africa, endowment of research grants, sensitisation programmes and social mobilisation of the people among other activities all personally funded under Ned Nwoko Foundation.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the initiative seeks to achieve the following: states to build recycling plants as a way of managing wastes and the sanitation of the environment. Comprehensive fumigation as was seen in china and elsewhere. Investment in research for vaccines. No one in this century has done as much in addressing a killer disease that we are all victims of especially in Africa. An Act of the National Assembly for the establishment of an agency of the Federal Government that will see to the sustainable implementation of the malaria eradication strategies.
“The truth is that Prince Ned does not need to be a scientist or a pharmacist to fund a malaria research. It is noteworthy that Bill Gates and others who had funded vaccines did not need to be pharmacists to do so. Prince Ned like other philanthropists is only interested in making his country and Africa a better place and will continue to work with relevant professionals to achieve that objective. This sacrifice has earned Ned Nwoko widespread commendations from African leaders, the federal government of Nigeria, sub national governments, credible institutions and international organisations especially WHO and UNESCO as well as prominent individuals and ordinary citizens.
“He has never sought for or received funds from any company, African leader or individual on the anti-malaria project. Any one that derides his selfless efforts in dealing with malaria, a scourge that has killed millions of people in Africa, even more than COVID-19 pandemic, is just callous and dishonest. The meetings with African leaders have been to intimate them on the malaria project and the need for them to align with the fight. Some of these African leaders are funding different malaria interventions for eg again, the pilot trial of the WHO approved malaria vaccine (with low efficacy) known as RTSS was conducted and concluded in Ghana, Malawi and Kenya. As a visioner, Prince Ned Nwoko saw the need to meet with these African leaders to harmonise actions and scale up the intervention strategies so that malaria will be a thing of the past in Nigeria. This should be celebrated and not condemned.
“How can the quest for a permanent solution to the scourge of malaria be described as white elephant project? We are all victims and witnesses of what malaria does to the people. What mischief! All these mushroom writers are paid agents of darkness. On the Idumuje-Ugboko land issue, any negative link to Prince Ned Nwoko is both trite and malicious. The community has been troubled since the past few years by a false claimant to the throne, Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko, who along with his violent gang unleashed mayhem on the village. The siege on Idumuje Ugboko allegedly resulted in destruction of houses, brutalization of prominent indigenes opposed to him as well as the death of a motorcycle cycle rider known as Cyprian Kuomulo. Most of the perpetrators are facing prosecution. All relevant authorities have exonerated prince Ned Nwoko from wrong-doing over the land issue.
“On March 16, 2015, Ned Nwoko as a member of the royal family, applied to the then Obi of Idumuje Ugboko Albert Nwoko 111, through his firm Linas international limited for allocation of 90 hectares from the land meant for community development projects. He further requested for extra parcel of land to build the permanent site of a university as well as an international golf course. In response to the application, through a letter addressed to Prince Ned Nwoko dated April 10, 2015, the king conveyed his approval of the application, after rigorous consultations with the palace chiefs, town union and general assembly of Idumuje-Ugbo kingdom.
“On July 20, 2016, Aniocha North local government issued the customary rights of occupancy for the land through a letter to Ned Nwoko, signed by the chairman of the council Mr. Chucks Oseme. All necessary procedures pertaining to the acquisition of the land had been rigidly followed, contrary to the accusations of Prince Chukwunonso. Also in its report dated November 23, 2020, the Inspector-General of Police Monitoring Unit said its investigation into the Idumuje Ugboko crisis showed that the allegations of land grabbing and harassment of indigenes against Ned Nwoko were false and that the disputed parcels of land were legitimately acquired by the businessman. The Delta State Command of the State Security Service also investigated the matter and came to the same conclusion.
“The Delta State Government has also conducted an inquiry into the matter. The government team led by Chief Edwin Uzor, Special Adviser to the governor on Peace-building and Conflict Resolution, met with all parties to the Idumuje-Ugboko land dispute and came up with report dated February 18, 2021 that the community approval of the land was obtained diligently by Prince Ned Nwoko. Today the STARS University, proposed as first sports university in Sub-Saharan Africa, is being developed with giant structures springing up at its Idumuje-Ugboko location, contrary to false claims of abandonment. Contractors are in fact putting finishing touches on the world class project. The multi-billion naira project is also intended to catalyse development of the host community and its environs which had wallowed under underdevelopment and neglect for centuries. The university project is fully on steam and currently at 70 per cent completion stage.”