Awka – Aguleri and Umuleri in Anambra East local council that could best be remembered for their 1999 communal war which claimed many lives and led to the destruction of property worth millions of naira, are once again at each other’s throat over boundary dispute.
This time, the people of Umuleri claim that some people from Aguleri are trespassing on their land with impunity and removing sign posts mounted on the said land.
For that reason the President General of Umuleri General Assembly, Chief Pius Okonkwo and the secretary general, Mr. Samuel Mbukwesili have raised the alarm in a petitioned to the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, complaining of breach of earlier police instructions directing the two communities to maintain peace.
In the petition they reminded the commissioner of how they were invited to his office on March 23, 2018 over the trespass on Aguakor Umuleri land by Aguleri people.
They maintained that in submission and respect to his office they honoured the invitation.
They continued: “At the meeting, which was attended by representatives of both communities, you directed that all the newly erected sign posts on the said land be removed. Contrary to your directives, the Aguleri people reluctantly removed the sign posts on the 25th day of March, 2018.
“In defiance to your directives and prior to their removal of the sign posts, 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 to instigate and provoke inter-communal crises between the two communities.
“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 Umuleri indigenes and, if not stopped, may breach public peace and cause inter-communal crises between the two communities.
“We, therefore implore you to use your good offices to ensure that they remove the two structures erected by them in defiance to your instructions; desist from embarking on further activities on the said land; checkmate their armed thugs and bring them to book; as well as ensure that Umuleri sign posts removed and seized by the people are returned to us.
“We also implore the CP to assign a police patrol team to the area for maintenance of law and order.”
However, the President General of Aguleri Town Union, Mr. Mike Ejoor has said that his community has no issue with Umuleri, noting that what might be happening in the area could be land dispute between families.
According to him, “Since the end of the 1999 communal crisis we have not had any crisis with Umuleri. Aguleri, as a community, has no common land, but it is not unusual for families that have common boundary to have misunderstanding over land.
“For instance, my family has a boundary with Umuleri and if there is any land dispute in the area, it is between the two families.”
Responding, state commissioner of police Garba Baba Umar said the police was handling the Aguleri and Umuleri land crisis stressing the command had met with both communities with a view to broker peace between them while more personnel would be deployed to the boundary between Aguleri and Ibaji to maintain peace and tranquility in the area.