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Six attacked in Umunede Delta over land

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By Nosa Akenzua

Protracted communal crisis including land dispute in Umunede community in Ika North East Local Government Area of Delta State has continued to unsettle its people who on Sunday sought the help of the State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.

While the land dispute is said to be between the Umunede and Emuhu communities, the people of Umunede fear that the dispute might be worsened following the recent attack on their people by some alleged miscreants who claimed to be from the neighbouring Emuhu community. 

Three prominent personalities from the area namely, the Oniye of Umunede Community, Chief Gabriel Egbule, the Ighiligi of Umunede, Chief Awulor Augustine and the President General Umunede Declvelopment Union, Mr. Anthony Ngozi who spoke to our correspondent on the matter.

The community leaders said that the land where Paradise Estate was built belongs to Umunede Community but it was illegally acquired by Prince Emmanuel Okonye of Akumazi from one John Okonye from Emuhu alleging that that Emuhu Community in Ika South Local Government is had allegedly been encroaching on the land and advised the people of Emuhu in their own interest to desist from the act capable of destroying lots of people. 

Recall that recently about six persons were allegedly attacked by suspected hoodlums who were alleged to have been hired by Emuhu Community people to ensure that the people of Umunede community are taught some raw lessons. 

Chief Egbule, an elder statesman in Umunede Community who also spoke to our correspondent disclosed that the land dispute between the two Communities started since 1969, making Umunede Community to seek redress at the law court, adding that the court upheld Umunede People as the rightful owner of the land. 

He said that Emuhu Community people however appealed against the Judgement but in 1994, the Supreme Court delivered judgement in favour of Umunede Community, adding” Four years ago under Chief Augustine Awulor as the President General Umunede Declvelopment Union, Chiefs of Emuhu Community visited the palace of the Umunede Traditional Ruler to inform him that some investors were interested on the the disputed land and the Obi advised them against selling any part of the land which belongs to Umunede Community” alleging that one John Okonye from Emuhu Community who has a pineapple plantation on the land have seen that his people have lost the case to Umunede Community came appealing to continue his pineapple farming on the land on rent”

To debunk the claim by the family of Okonye, the Ighiligi of Umunede Community, Chief Awulor said that all they were claiming that the said land belongs to their father and Emuhu Community were lies and advised prince Emmanuel Okonye to follow the right track to resolve the issues while urging the people to remain calm and Continue to be peaceful for Justice to prevail

In a swift reaction, Prince Emmanuel Okonye from Emuhu Community dispelled as untrue all the allegations levelled against them as a people, insisting that the land in dispute belongs to the people of Emuhu Community as Umunede Community people were standing on usuping what belongs to them and however appealed to the state government to urgently errect a pillar to show the boundary between Ika South and Ika North East to avoid future crisis and further bloodbath in the area

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