Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Four people have reportedly been killed in four Abia communities in Ariam Usaka clan in the past one week by their Akwa Ibom State neighbours following boundary dispute which erupted in the area. The four villages involved are Obugwu, Ekpiri, Usaka Ukwu and Obono Upa.
Disclosing this in his palace, the traditional ruler of Ugwuegbu community in Ariam Usaka clan, Ikwuano Local Government of Abia State, Eze Ambrose Nwagwu, said the four persons were allegedly killed in their farmlands by people from Nkari community in Ini Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
Eze Nwagwu said his subjects were murdered by their Akwa Ibom state neighbours who also carried away their corpses and urged Abia state governor to appeal to his Akwa Ibom State counterpart to prevail on the people of Nkari to release the corpses of his slain subjects so as to give them befitting burial.
‘We’ve been in tears since the ugly incident occurred. They (our kinsmen) were murdered in their different farms for no just reason. We are appealing to the government to do the needful so that we can give our slain brothers befitting burial.’
Eze Nwagwu who noted his people had been living peacefully with their Akwa Ibom State neighbours for a very long time, said he did not know what overcame their neighbours that they suddenly started disputing farmlands that have belonged to Usaka people of Abia state over the ages.
The monarch disclosed that the National Boundary Commission (NBC) came to the disputed area some years back and surveyed the area which he said had natural boundary marks and appealed to them to come out with the result of their findings to stop the killings going on in the area.
‘We are peace-loving people, my people have been pushed to the wall, but we want to follow things the civilized way that is why we are appealing to Abia and Akwa Ibom state governments and the NBC to intervene to stop the killings of my people.’
The Commissioner for Housing, Chief Theophilus Ugboaja, and the President-General, Ariam Usaka Development Union, Chief BC Mgbaramuko, bemoaned the actions of the Nkari people and called for caution.
When Daily Sun visited the area, some women from the affected communities who were seen protesting the killings carried placards some of which read: ‘Nkari, enough is enough’; ‘Nkari men stop raping our women’; ‘Nkari, leave our farmlands for us’ and ‘Nkari, stopping killing our people’.
Meanwhile, Abia State Deputy Governor Chief Ude Oko Chukwu has visited the area and assured the people of the government’s readiness to protect their lives and property as well as ensure that the corpses of their murdered kinsmen are released to them for proper burial.
He promised to liaise with his Akwa Ibom State counterpart to find a lasting solution to the lingering boundary dispute between the two neighbouring communities.