Community blames Anambra govt for ancestral invasion
By Phil Okose, Onitsha
The people of Ezinimo Eziowelle community, Idemili North local government area, Anambra state, have accused the state boundary committee headed by the deputy governor, Dr Nkem Okeke, of contributing to what they called the invasion of their ancestral land at Nneagu by those they alleged to be from Uruoji village, Ogidi community.
Accusing the committee of delayed response to the alleged invasion, in which properties estimated in millions of naira were destroyed, the community’s chairman, Chief Mike Nwoba, alleged that, on 19th December, 2020, persons from the accused community invaded their land with caterpillars, bulldozers and all manner of offensive weapons.
According to Nwoba, “They jumped Adazi Ogidi that we have a boundary with, Mgbuke Umunachi and Ajirija and entered our Nneagu land. We have no problems with these our neighbouring villages. We have boundary agreement with Adazi Ogidi and swore never to encroach on each other’s land. The Ogirisi tree is still there.
“We never heard of Uruorji Ogidi’s existence until August 12, 2018, when they invaded our land for the first time, before the latest invasion on December 19, 2020.
“We reported to the two traditional rulers of Ogidi and Eziowelle and they tried to settle the matter, but could not and, after visiting the disputed land and asking questions, the committee pledged to invite us. We waited until November when they told us at Awka that we should go and make peace or go to court.
“We are disappointed with the state Boundary Committee headed by the deputy governor. The committee did not do anything or mediate in the matter since (after) its visit,” he fumed.
Reacting, the people of Uruorji Ogidi, through their chairman, Mr Paul Ifeanyichukwu Ibegbu, denied the allegations levelled against them saying that “Umuikwelle Eziowelle people said they did not have any boundary problem with us. We are the one they have boundary with, not Ezinimo”.
Ibegbu, who spoke through Uruorji community spokesman, Deacon Henry Okaro, who was with their peace committee chairman, Chuks Aduba, and chairman land committee, Boniface Okoye, also traced the history of the land crisis to 2018, when they had a land tussle with Mgbuke community, Umunnachi, which took about 80 years to be resolved amicably and agreement reached.