By Onukwube Augustine Chibuzor
Since the last five years, it’s been from one boundary dispute to another in Awka North as communities battle over acres of land across the local government. This disputes cuts across different communities from Achalla-Urum, Amanuke-Mgbakwu, Achalla-Amanuke, Urum-Mgbakwu, Ugbene-Ugbenu and the list goes on.
According to reports and some empirical facts, the people of Urum believed that the boundary between them and Achalla started from “Dimdim” which has a river separating both communities. They had always cultivated this acres of land for decades and it was rumored to have an ancestral undertones as to why they are the real owners of these acres of land.
The above report was not corresponded by the people of Achalla who in like manner, claimed that the boundary between both communities is at “Ochokwa”, which is miles away from what is presumed to be the boundary of these disputing communities.
Last year, there was reports of invasion by a group of hoodlums and village youths from Achalla, laying claims on acres of land believed to have belonged to Ndi Urum. This disputes were watered down by Awka North stakeholders and few other interested parties, as their were lawsuits and counter suits involving both communities laying claims to the piece of land along the uncompleted Urum-Achalla road.
The bickering over this land continued but without major troubles until two weeks ago when some group of youths from Achalla laid siege on the land and stopped every form of activities around the property which also has a prayer ground located within the proximity of the said disputed land. This infuriated Urum community, this almost caused a bloodbath but thanks to the swift intervention of some stakeholders and the men of Nigeria Police who were on ground to stop further confrontations.
Few days ago, elders from both communities and other community leaders who formed a peace committee to help resolve the impending crisis were at the office of the commissioner of police Anambra State to seek ways to end this lingering dispute.
The resolution of the meeting with the commissioner of police was thus, “all the parties involved should stay clear of the parcels of land for the time being, till when the true occupant of the lands will be determined based on the findings and resolutions of the peace committee”.
Last night, it was another story, as thugs and hoodlums from Achalla invaded Urum, killing about three persons, whom one among the dead person was Igada (others yet to be identified and their bodies yet to be found) and many others severely injured.
The actions of this hoodlums from Achalla can be described as despicable and barbaric, which will as well lead to disability of the long lasting peace enjoyed in the local government over the years.
We call on the State Government, the commissioner of police and other relevant authorities to intervene and bring this dispute to a halt before it escalates. The State Government and the commissioner of police should as a matter of urgency investigate, arrest and prosecute anyone involved and promoting this long protracted disputes.
Those who sustained injuries are currently at Amaku Teaching Hospital (Odumegwu Ojukwu Teaching Hospital), Awka, Anambra State receiving treatments and other medical attention.
We pray and hope for a timely intervention as this will also set a precedence to other related crisis in other communities.