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Anambra: Fresh Crisis Brews Between Aguleri, Umuleri

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The neighbouring Umuleri and Aguleri communities in Anambra East local government area of Anambra State are currently gearing up for another communal clash.

The Umuleri community has accused her Aguleri neighbour of attempting to provoke them and thereby set the stage for another round of skirmishes between them.

The president general of Umuleri General Assembly, Pius Okonkwo and the secretary general, Mr. Samuel Mbukwesili in a statement which was issued to newsmen in Awka, the state capital yesterday accused their Aguleri neighbour of breaching an agreement signed by the two communities to maintain peace and order in the area.

The two communities had clashed early this year and the incident resulted to the destruction of some houses, while some people sustained injuries. The intervention of the men of the state police command had saved the skirmish from escalating further as the state police command prevailed on the two communities to sign a peace pact.

But the Umuleri community in a petition  to the Anambra State Commissioner of Police alleged that Aguleri people had forcefully entered the disputed land with armed thugs, thereby threatening peace in the area.

Their petition reads in part: “Pursuant to our earlier letter, you directed that Umuleri and Aguleri people should desist from entering into the area of land in Aguakor Umueri land (from Otuocha-Oye Agu Road to the fish market up to the Otuocha Township Stadium) and that nobody should construct any building or carry out any activity therein.

“And to bring peace, you constituted an unbiased peace committee, in which both communities have equal representatives to look into the dispute, make findings and proffer possible settlement procedures.”

It added, “To our chagrin, however, and in defiance to your directives and in total disregard of the peace committee, Aguleri people and their armed thugs have continued to enter into the disputed area of land in Aguakor Umuleri land and are carrying on construction works daily on the land.

“They are usually well armed with guns to scare Umuleri people away and threaten to kill any Umuleri indigene who would try to question them.

“Umuleri people are peace-loving and law abiding, thus, our obedience to your directives and respect to the peace committee, are practical proof.

“But if the persons involved are not called to order, their conduct is likely to trigger off another inter-communal crisis between the two neighbouring towns of Umuleri and Aguleri.

“We therefore urge you to use your good office to call the persons involved to order and prevent the looming danger their conduct is likely to cause.”

Deputy president general of Agulieri Town Union, Mr Emma Ikem when contacted on phone stated that the allegation was baseless. He said, “ The Umuleri people are fond of crying wolf where there is no wolf. They are even the people breaching the peace pact.

“ Go there now, there is no single house on the land that is owned by an Aguleri person. We are law abiding people.”

Ikem said ordinarily there would not have been any issue arising from the land if not the way Umuleri people were fanning embers of hate about it.

He added that   government had paid compensation to owners of the disputed land.

LEADERSHIP recalls that an inter-communal clash between the two communities in 1999 claimed hundreds of lives, while properties worth millions of naira were destroyed.

Scares of the war, in which dangerous weapons were used, still dot the two communities.



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