Anambra State has declared a state of emergency on three communities in the state following continued violence in them. There are Umueri, Aguleri and Umuoba Anam communities.
Our reporter in the state said the government also imposed a three-day curfew on the towns and warned that any persons or group that violates the curfew will be dealt with heavily. Anambra
According to him, the neighbouring communities of Aguleri and Umueri went to war following unresolved ownership of large portion of land between them. Anambra State governor, Willie Obiano hails from Aguleri.
As at the time of filling this report, one building, four vehicles and two motorcycles had been set ablaze by the warring factions according to police report.
The caretaker committee chairman of Umueri, Chief Sunday Udealor declined comment , but however retorted that “until the matter is brought under control”.
But another prominent citizen of Umueri who pleaded anonymity said much as police claimed that the situation has been brought to control gun shots still boom in the area. He, however, declined casualty figure.
Our reporter discovered that the renewed crisis which claimed tens of lives and property worth millions of naira in the 1990s, was sparked off when a member of one of the communities erected a building on the disputed land and thus sparked a scramble for the land.
A statement signed by the police public relations officer, Ananmbra State Command, Mohammed Haruna read: “On 16/1/2021 at about 7:15am there was a report of crisis between Umueri and Aguleri Communities both in Anambra East LGA of Anambra State over a disputed area of land which both Communities were laying claim of ownership.
Following the distress, the Command quickly dispatched joint Police teams comprising Police Mobile Force and Rapid Response Squad (PMF/RRS) and other Conventional Units in collaboration with other Security agencies led by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations DCP Salman Dogo to the scene.
“Situation was brought under control, while joint patrol is still ongoing to restore normalcy in the affected areas.
“Meanwhile, no loss of live or injury has been reported. However, one building, four vehicles and two motorcycles were set ablaze by the warring factions.
“Consequently, the Commissioner of Police CP John B.Abang has directed the State CID Awka to carry out discreet investigation in order to ascertain circumstances surrounding the incident and bring perpetrators to book.
“The CP also warned both parties to maintain peace and explore all the legal avenues to resolve their grievances without resorting to violence.He further assured both parties that he would contact the State Government to intervene in the matter in order to find lasting solution to the lingering problem”.
It was learnt that the disputed land has remained a bone of contention not just between Aguleri and Umuleri but among the seven riverine communities of Aguleri Uno, Enugu-Aguleri, Umuoba Anam, Eziagulu-Otu, Enugu-Otu, and Mkpunando.
Our reporter stated that the disputed piece of land was the head quarters of the Royal Niger Company which the communities collectively gave the company.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.