There was tension in boundary dispute between Ezi Nkewelle and Osile Ogbunike both in Oyi local government areas of Anambra state as suspected hoodlums block the road and smashed vehicles.
It was gathered some hoodlums who were working for one of the disputed land communities while trying to stop the other party from taken possession of the slaughter market resisted them and blocked the road in protest which caused violence leading to the smash of the vehicles.
As it stands now bloodbath looms if urgent action was not taken to settle the land dispute among the two neigbouring communities as they are at dagger at each.
The Chairman of Ezi Nkwelle Community Chief Wilfred Okafor flanked by other executive members and Counsel to the community Mr. Emeka Asiegbu while briefing newsmen on the recent development on the land matter accused police of complicity who prevented the community from taken possession of the slaughter market land which was given to them by the State Boundary committee and court judgments on the land in their favour.
He alleged that when they approached the place on Feb 11 some armed policemen already stationed in the market started shooting sporadically which made them to scamper for safety.
Okafor wondered why the same police who gave them protection on Feb 3 when they first came to take possession of the land but was prevented by suspected hoodlums who were shooting from the bush that made both the police and themselves to leave the place for safety also turned against them and started shooting at them.
He however want government to intervene by doing the needful of coming to put the monument as they promised after their ruling on the land, wondering why government was keeping quite over the land matter after they had paid their own bills as they requested for demarcation and monuments.
“When we came again to take possession of land which we have court judgements police started shooting to scare us, I don’t know that whether police is playing double game on the matter, the same police that gave us protection last week turned against us yesterday. I know that their boast of our neighbouring community is playing out because their daughter is the wife of the governor of the state.
Okafor however accused the Ogbunike people of renting thugs who came to the place shooting to scare the people around the market to create the impression that they were the ones that attack the traders last week.
“We have court judgements on that land in our favour. We have 1917 judgement of then Supreme Court which High court of Otuocha Anambra state as presided over by Justice Nweze described as judgement that cannot be touched. The judge told both communities to get their survey plans so that he would be able to give judgement on that land but the Ogbunike people refused and went to Court of Appeal at Enugu but their appeal was struck out in 2017.
“They went to Supreme Court in 2018 and it was struck out. We have these judgement intact. While we were in Appeal court Enugu they went to State Boundary Committee headed by the Deputy Governor Dr. Nkem Okeke. So we decided to honour the boundary committee irrespective of the fact that we have our judgements on the land.
“In 2020 the boundary committee gave their ruling and divided the land, the deputy governor signed it before everybody even part of land was given to Ogbunike people. They committee invited us later with Umunya community because Ogbunike also had land dispute with them too. We were told to pay for expenses to put monuments, they gave us bill of N1.85million which we paid in the purse of state government but Osile Ogbunike refused to pay and the committee could not put the monument up till now.
“One day I was called that Ogbunike people had entered into the land with bulldozer parceling the land though on their own part of the land, I said okay and called the committee that they had entered into their own land that the committee should come and put the monuments to enable us enter into our own land but the committee told me that Ogbunike refused to pay the bill for the monuments.
“So, we wrote to deputy governor and state police command to inform them, I later got information that they wanted to sell part of our own land. So, with that information we wrote to police that we want to take possession of our own land and the first day we went there, they started shooting, they came out with thugs they camped inside bush as peaceful people we went home with police but on Feb 11 we went back for the second time but prevented by police” Okafor stated.
Recalled that last week suspected hoodlums stormed the slaughter market to cause mayhem, injuring some traders, looting their meats, stolen their cash amounting to N30 million while many property were destroyed.
The police spokesman, CSP Mohammed Haruna in his reaction said Police did not stop anybody from executing court order, instead police responded to a distress call of imminent breakdown of law and order by hoodlums who blocked the highway and smashed windscreens of oblivious motorists in the area.
Mohammed said the timely intervention of police calmed the situation leading to restoration of normalcy and free flow of traffic.