David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
Two communities in Anambra State – Nibo in Awka South Local Government Area (LGA) and Abba in Njikoka LGA yesterday mobilised indigenes in separate protest marches to block the gate of the Anambra State Government House in Awka, the state capital.
Indigenes of the two communities who carried placards, called on the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano to save them from impending bloodshed arising from communal clashes.
An elder in Nibo community, Mr. Ikwenna Ekwenugo representing Ifite Umuamam village in the cabinet of the traditional ruler, who led his community to the protest, said they were at the government house to bring to the notice of the governor the intimidation they were passing through in the hands of their neighbours, Awka people.
“Awka people have taken our land, and their youths have invaded our community, threatening to deal with anyone who challenges them.
“They are being sponsored by a Deputy Inspector General of Police (name withheld). He arms them and has supported their activities against us.
“They have taken our land and also this morning they moved into our farmland. We have reported to the police, but the way they have dismissed us gives us the impression that they are working with the DIG, and we have been abandoned.
“We decided to come to the governor to complain because we do not what violence to erupt, because we are a peaceful community.”
Also, a community leader, Mr. Obinna Chukwuma, who led Abba community on its own protest, said that Ukpo community has taken over its land, destroyed its market, school and residential buildings, most of which have been in existence since 35 years.
“They even said that there is nothing like Abba community any longer. A community that has existed for hundreds of years; they now want to take over it. They are being supported by a billionaire oil mogul, and all our cries to the government for help have come to nothing.
“We are aware that there are communal crisis everywhere in Anambra State, and we do not want to add to the number; that is why we are here to know if Willie Obiano is no longer our governor, or that he has forsaken us.”
In his response, the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, who received the communities separately thanked them for not engaging in violence, but opted to complain to the governor.
“I shall intimate the governor of your visit, and I am sure he will look into the crisis and ensure lasting settlement for your communities. The deputy governor is also in charge of boundaries, and I urge you to petition his office, so that he can invite you people to an amicable resolution,” he said.
In the past one month, several communities in the state have been at war with their neighbours over land dispute. This include: Omor/Umubo, Achalla/Urum, among others.