From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Awka
A fresh crisis is brewing between Aguleri and Umueri, both communities in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State.
The two communities were engaged in an infamous communal war in 1999 which claimed many lives and property worth millions of naira destroyed.
Following the renewed tussle over land ownership by Aguleri over a land allegedly belonging to Umueri, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) arrested a 70-year-old man and declared five others wanted over their roles in the disputed land.
This agitated the Umueri people as they perceived it as an injustice to them.
Umueri in a petition to the Commissioner of Police claimed that some people from Aguleri trespassed on their land and removed sign posts on it. They asked for intervention to avoid further harassment and arrests of their people by SARS.
The President-General of Umueri General Assembly, Hon. Pius Okonkwo and the Secretary-General, Mr. Samuel Mbukwesili, petitioned the Commissioner of Police, complaining of breach of earlier police order, directing the communities to maintain peace and remove all forms of signposts on the land.
The petition reads: a�?May it be recalled that we were invited to your office on the 23rd March, 2018 over the trespass on Aguakor Umueri land by Aguleri people. And in submission and respect to your office, we honoured the invitation.
a�?At the meeting, which was attended by representatives of both communities, you directed that all the newly erected signposts on the said land be removed. Contrary to your directive, the Aguleri people reluctantly removed the signposts on 25th March, 2018.
a�?In defiance to your directive and prior to their removal of the signposts, the Aguleri people with their armed thugs commenced the erection of two permanent structures on the land and the structures are being erected in the night and they are heavily armed in other to instigate and provoke inter-communal crises between the two communities.
a�?Suffice it to bring to your notice that these illegal activities by the Aguleri people with their armed thugs pose serious threat to the lives of Umueri indigenes and, if not stopped, may breach public peace and cause inter-communal crises between the two communities.
a�?We, therefore implore you to use your good offices to ensure that they remove the two structures erected by them in defiance to your instruction; desist from embarking on further activities on the said land; check their armed thugs and bring them to book; as well as ensure that Umueri signposts removed and seized by the armed thugs be returned to us
a�?We also implore the CP to assign a police patrol team to the area for maintenance of law and order.a�?
However, the President General of Aguleri Town Union, Mr. Mike Ejoor, said that his community had no issue with Umueri.
He said that what might be happening in the area could be land dispute between families.
Ejoor said: a�?Since the end of the 1999 communal crisis, we have not had any crisis with Umueri. Aguleri, as a community, has no common land, but it is not unusual for families that have common boundaries to have misunderstanding over land.
a�?For instance, my family has a boundary with Umueri and if there is any land dispute in the area, it is between the two families,a�? he said.
The President-General of Umueri General Assembly, Hon. Pius Okonkwo, confirmed the petition and lamented that the Aguleri community was abusing the privileges of producing the governor of Anambra State even as he sued for peace.
From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Awka