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Tension in Anambra Communities over Land Dispute

Following the arrest of six persons in Awkuzor and Amafor villages of Nkpor, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), the communities have been in tension over alleged land dispute.

The community has petitioned Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, the state commissioner of police and the state Boundary Commission, to come to their rescue over alleged harassment and invasion of their land by Oze, NkweleEzunaka community in Oyi Local Government Area of the state.

The two Nkpor villages in the community had equally sent a letter to the state deputy governor, Dr. NkemOkeke, who is the chairman of the state Boundary Adjustment Committee, pleading for the state government to properly demarcate their boundaries with Oze, in order to end the lingering land crisis.

Following the dispute, six persons in Nkpor had been allegedly arrested and detained for the past three months by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad(SARS), for entering into the said land.

Out of the number, three were said to have been released by the police on Wednesday at Awkuzu.

The large expanse of land, lying across the Nkisi River, was allegedly inherited by Nkpor people who were farming on it before the recent invasion by Oze people, who were also laying claim to the same land.

In a letter to the deputy governor, signed by the chairman of Akuzor committee, ChukwumaChukwurah and that of Amafor village, NdubuisiIzunwa respectively, they requested for the proper placement of documents on the respective boundaries so as to put an end to the existing conflict between the communities.

Besides, they are calling on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Solomon Arase, to send a special squad to Anambra state in order to take over the matter from the SARS

They are also lamenting that no young man in Nkpor sleeps in their house these days for fear of being arrested by the police, especially SARS, who they accused of being partisan in the matter.

Also in the Save Our Soul (SOS) letter to the police commissioner, counsel to Nkpor community, Mr. S.O. Chukwukelu, said that from time immemorial, Awkuzor and Amafor villages had never been in dispute until the recent incident, which, he observed, was fueled by land grabbers and speculators.

According to him, “The problem started when land speculators from Oze came into the scene and started distorting the ancient and long maintained boundary between these two communities as evidenced in the Idemili Local Government map of December, 1976.

 

“These land grabbers manifested when the people of Awkuzor tried to survey, partition and share their vast area of land across Nkisi River called Owelle land. It was this time that Oze people sponsored armed thugs, who attacked the people.

He said following the attack, the state police command directed that further action on the sharing of the land be stopped, regretting that Oze village used the opportunity to invite an Onitsha –based business man, who allegedly invaded the area with his private army and mounted sand bags to scare the rightful owners from entering into their land.

The people further claimed that the inability of the state government to intervene in the land dispute, led to the escalation of the matter.

When Daily Times contacted the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. UcheEzeh, denied knowledge of the land dispute in question.

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