One killed, three injured in Achebe’s community over land dispute

                                

At least one person has been confirmed dead as three others escaped death with varying degrees of injuries in Ikenga Ogidi community, home of the late Prof Chinua Achebe, during a clash with Umusiome community in Nkpor, their neighbours.

Both communities in Idemili North local government area of Anambra State have had a running battle spanning several years, over a parcel of land, despite a Supreme Court judgment and the efforts of the Anambra State government.

Akelicious gathered that the clash, which happened on Saturday, claimed the life of a 70-year-old man, Elder Anthony Okongwu, while three other persons who sustained injuries were still being attended to in an undisclosed hospital in the area.

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Hon Amaechi Ekume, President-General of Ikenga Ogidi community, who spoke to our correspondent on the clash, said he and some elders of the community had gone to the disputed land to inspect it, since Umusiome Nkpor people had defied a Supreme Court Judgment handed in 1997 to continue to develop the land.

“We went there without anything in mind, but we were surprised when suddenly Umusiome people attacked us, and started shooting. In the process, we lost one of our elders, and three other people sustained injuries.

“It was not a fight between our community and theirs, because we did not go there with any intention. At least, the age of the people we went with and that of the man who was killed will tell you that we were not there for trouble but to inspect the land,” he said.

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He regretted that the police could not save his people, despite knowing full well that Umusiome people were trespassing on the land, without recourse to a Supreme Court judgment and the effort of the state government to resolve the dispute.

He called on the state government to quickly wade into the matter to forestall further incidences of breakdown of law and order, as Ikenga Ogidi community would not tolerate further attack on her indigenes.

Meanwhile, the Chairman Umusiome Village Nkpor, Mr. Pius Obiogbolu in his reaction acknowledged that the two communities have been in land dispute for many years. He however did not react to allegations that members of his community attacked their Ikenga Ogidi neighbours.

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He said, “We are not challenging the Supreme Court judgment, what we are challenging is the Anambra state government gazette which was wrongly made. We want it repealed. We also want the state government to implement the recommendations made by those they invited to look into the land dispute.”

The spokesperson of Anambra State police Command, SP Haruna Mohammed confirmed the incident, saying that the command has launched investigation into the matter, and was also keeping vigilance on the area to forestall further breakdown of law and order.

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