By Francis Onyeukwu
Umuleri community leaders in Anambra State have petitioned the Commissioner of Police in the state over an alleged breach of peace agreement by Aguleri people, with whom they have been at loggerheads in respect of the disputed Aguakor Umueri land.
Scores of people died and property worth several millions of naira destroyed in the Aguleri/Umueri communal conflict between 1998 and 1999.
Aguleri is the country home of Blessed Michael Iwene Tansi, the beatified Roman Catholic Priest and both communities are in Anambra East Local Government Area of the state.
A renewed clash earlier this year in which a few people sustained injuries and some houses destroyed, was successfully quelled following the intervention of state government and the Police.
However, in a petition to the Commissioner of Police, signed by the President-General of Umueri General Assembly, Chief Pius Okonkwo and the Secretary-General, Mr. Samuel Mbukwesili, raised an alarm that the clash might start again.
The petition dated July 4, 2018, and made available to newsmen on Monday in Awka, alleged that Aguleri people had forcefully entered the disputed land.
They also claimed that Aguleri people and their armed thugs were threatening the peace and tranquility of people in the area.
“Pursuant to our earlier letter, you directed that Umueri 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).
“You also directed that nobody should construct any building or carry out any activity therein so as to ensure peaceful co-existence between the two communities.
“To our chagrin and in total disregard to the peace committee, Aguleri people and their armed thugs have continued to enter into the disputed area of land in Aguakor Umueri and are carrying on construction works daily on the land.’’
The Umuleri leaders further stated that the people of Aguleri were usually well armed with guns to scare Umueri people away and threaten to kill any Umueri indigene who challenged them.
“Umueri people are peace-loving and law-abiding; thus, our obedience to your directives and respect to the peace committee, are practical proof.”
They, therefore, appealed to the commissioner of police to urgently call Aguleri people to order, noting that their conduct was likely to trigger another inter-communal crisis between the two neighbouring communities.
The development attracted the attention of the Police Command, which prevailed on the two communities to sign a peace agreement to ensure tranquility.
Meanwhile, in his reaction, Chief Emmanuel Ikem, the Deputy President-General of Aguleri Town Union dismissed as false the breach claim by Umuleri people.
“The Umuleri people are crying wolf where there is none; no Aguleri man or woman had entered the disputed Aguakor Umueri land, rather it is the people of Umuleri that violate the principle of the peace agreement,’’ Ikem said.