Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Governors Willie Obiano and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Anambra and Enugu states respectively have vowed that there would be no more strife between the two states.
Their stand followed previous clashes recorded between the two border communities of Awba-Ofemmili in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State and Ibite-Olo in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State and the present signs of imminent clash.
Consequently, the two chief executives charged the natives of the two communities to give peace a chance and await the final establishment of a common boundary by the National Boundary Commission.
They had through their deputies, Dr. Nkem Okeke (Anambra) and Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo (Enugu) who are chairmen of the states’ boundary committees set up a security and peace committee that supervised the planting and harvesting of crops within the disputed area last farming season.
At a recent joint meeting with stakeholders in the matter at the Enugu State Government House, Enugu, the two deputy governors urged the people to give peace a chance and allow the Federal Government whose responsibility it is to demarcate the boundaries do its work.
Addressing the stakeholders, Dr. Okeke expressed the need for both communities to live in peace, stressing that they could if they so desired.
Noting that the meeting was one of the measures by the two governments to prevent clashes and chaos in the communities, Okeke emphasised the cordiality of his working relationship with Mrs. Ezeilo, adding that the meeting was convened because of a recent report of clash between
the two communities, with a view to preventing escalation.
In her introductory remark, Mrs Ezeilo stated that Anambra and Enugu states were sisters and could co-exist in line with the peace posture of the two governments, saying that creation of states was done for administrative convenience and should be seen as such if peace must continue to reign.
At the meeting which was attended by the traditional rulers of both communities, their presidents-general, chairmen of Awka North and Ezeagu local governments, the executive secretaries of both boundary committees, among others, Ezeilo asked the communities to stand on the truth at all times to enable the establishment of facts of the case, stressing that governments at all levels were making frantic efforts towards peaceful coexistence in the communities, which she said had been in place prior to state creation.
Meanwhile, the boundary committees of the two states have initiated moves to forestall imminent clashes and had at the end of a three-hour bilateral meeting between the officials of the boundary committees of both states resolved that the life of the Security and Peace Committee earlier constituted to supervise the planting and harvesting of crops within the disputed area be extended for another farming season beginning from February 2018.
In a 10-point communiqué presented on behalf of the two deputy governors by the Executive Secretary of the Enugu State Boundary Commission, Elder S.U Ugwu it was also resolved that henceforth nobody should collect money from any farmer for farming in the area within the stipulated time frame or even sell any portion of the land in question.
Equally, it was resolved that there should not be further activity by new investors in the area and that people from other communities than Awba-Ofemmili and Ibite-Olo should not be allowed to farm on the land.
While directing that the divisional police officers in both communities and local government chairmen of both council areas be part of the security committee, the deputy governors also directed that the committee should ensure that no farmer goes into the farm with guns, but farm implements.
It was also resolved that no arrest would be made on any matter pertaining the area in dispute without authorisation by the two deputy governors.