From Obinna Odogwu, Awka
The people of Aguleri community in Anambra East Local Government of Area of Anambra State have accused the people of Umueri community of breaching peace accords they reached which were targeted at bringing lasting peace to them.
President-General of Aguleri, Chief Hipo Onwuegbuke, lawyer and the co-Chairman of Aguleri/Umueri Peace Committee, Chief Ralph Igwah, at a press conference said the recent protest staged by Umueri people over a piece of land given to the police by government was ill-conceived and provocative.
More than 2,000 persons from Umueri community had protested the alleged encroachment into their land and demolition of some of their houses at the location where the Police Institute of Finance and Administration (PIFA) was being built.
They also claimed that the PIFA premises measuring 17 hectares belonged to them but were not consulted by government before giving it out to the police.
But Aguleri people dismissed their claims saying the contentious land belonged to government. It said the land, known as 1 Mile Square, was given to government of the old East Central State in the time past by the two communities.
The statement partly read: “The protest was hinged on the false claim by the Umueri community that the land belongs to them. The people of Aguleri hereby debunk strongly the Umueri claim as false as it is not in accord with the 2006 Peace Agreement between the two communities.
“The agreement states ‘that from the point government land begins (that is, from the Agricultural Department, Otuocha) to the point it ends, (that is, at the INEC office, Otuocha) as well as the land given to the police at Otuocha shall be regarded as Public Institute/Property and neither Aguleri nor Umuleri shall lay exclusive claim to these areas”, it added.
Aguleri people further accused Umueri people of sabotaging all peace efforts to restore lasting peace to the areas.
“The tendency or attitude of the Umueri community to disregard peace agreements reached and signed with Aguleri is one major cause of tension in the area.
“This is exemplified in their attitude towards agreement reached by the Aguleri/Umueri Peace Committee and by the land owning families of both communities,”, they said.
Aguleri, however, recommended that “the two communities should abide by the existing agreements existing between them, and Umueri community should stop further provocative acts against Aguleri.”
Meanwhile, the President of Aguleri Youths, Mr Nnamdi Ikeli, in his speech, said that the youths do not want war but a peaceful resolution of all the matters concerning the land tussle.
“The stand of the youths is that we are not going to war. It is our wish that Umueri people should embrace peace just as we want peace. We want progress and development in our community and not war”, he said.