AFTER the infamous 1999 communal war between neighbouring Aguleri and Umueri communities in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State, which claimed many lives and led to the destruction of property worth millions of naira, another land dispute is seriously brewing in the area.
This time, the people of Umueri are claiming that some people from Aguleri are trespassing on their land with impunity and removing sign posts hoisted on the said land.
Worried by the mounting tension in the area, the President-General of Umueri General Assembly, Chief Pius Okonkwo and the Secretary General, Mr. Samuel Mbukwesili had petitioned the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, complaining of breach of earlier police instructions, directing the two communities to maintain peace.
The petition read: “May it be recalled that we were invited to your office on the 23rd day of March, 2018 over the trespass on Aguakor Umueri land by Aguleri people. And in submission and respect to your office, we honoured the invitation.
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 in order 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 Umueri 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 office 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.
“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 told Vanguard that his community has no issue with Umueri, saying that what might be happening in the area could be land dispute between families.
He said: “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 boundary to have misunderstanding over land.
“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.