BY RAYMOND OZOJI, Awka
No fewer than 5 persons of Umueri community in Anambra-East Local Government Area of Anambra State have been hospitalized in the fresh land crisis that ensued between Nsugbe and Umueri in the early hours of Wednesday, 22nd November, 2023.
The said land crisis between Nneyi Umueri and Enugwu-Nsugbe which dates back to 1906 is said to have claimed more lives in the area with indigenes of Nneyi Umueri always being victims of circumstance each time the crisis occurred.
Although the Police in Anambra State seemed to have declined comments on the Nsugbe/Umueri land crisis already claiming innocent lives in the area, indigenes of Nneyi Umueri have said that they would not relinquish ownership of the land in controversy because the land is their ancestral heritage.
Nsugbe community on the other hand equally seems to have declared war against Nneyi Umueri over ownership of the land in dispute even though further investigations into the land crisis revealed that the Senator representing Anambra-North at the National Assembly Sen. Tony Nwoye had set up a committee to resolve the land matter but all to no avail because Nsugbe community seems to be adamant and very unyielding.
Anikpeh Joseph Obaelue, Assistant Chief Security Officer Umueri Vigilante Service, told our correspondent that the land in contention belongs to Nneyi Umueri and they have no boundary with Enugwu-Nsugbe. That they only have boundary with Amagu-Nsugbe. That the terror and mayhem unleashed on Nneyi Umueri by Enugwu-Nsugbe was the height of barbarism and man’s inhumanity to man.
Obaelue said, “We have three quarters in Nneyi Umueri. They are Mmanoma, Akwuete and Ekpe. Those at the Supreme Court now are Akwuete quarter and Ofianta-Nsugbe. But after sometime, Enugwu-Nsugbe started claiming ownership of some parts of Nneyi Umueri. It all started with siting of the airport in Umueri.
“We have no common boundary with Enugwu-Nsugbe. Those Mmanoma Nneyi Umueri has common boundary with are Amagu-Nsugbe but those trespassing on our land are Enugwu-Nsugbe. One of our brothers called Chibuogu has been shot dead by indigenes of Enugwu-Nsugbe because of the land issue.
“Again, the day Umueri people came to mount sign post bearing “Welcome to Umueri”, indigenes of Enugwu-Nsugbe attacked us, destroyed the sign post and destroyed 5 vehicles on the spot. They also resorted to attacking Umueri indigenes living in Nsugbe. All these issues we report to the police.
“Thereafter, distinguished Sen. Tony Nwoye set up a committee; one Ifediora Mabia from Nsugbe and Chief Celestine Tagbo from Nneyi Umueri, but nothing came out of the committee until Nsugbe people attacked Nneyi Umueri again. They started shooting our brothers mining stones in the land.
“So, I alerted the police and other people and rushed those who were injured to the hospital. As I speak with you, 5 persons are in critical conditions in the hospital due to the attack Enugwu-Nsugbe launched on Nneyi Umueri.”
Obaelue also informed this reporter that Enugwu-Nsugbe owns the land where Nwafor Orizu College of Education is located and that they have sold virtually all the lands in that axis of Nsugbe. He said the land being claimed by Enugwu-Nsugbe is nowhere close to it; that the reason for the encroachment on Umueri land was because of the Chinua Achebe International Airport sited in the ommunity.
Meanwhile a source from Nsugbe community who pleaded anonymity told this reporter that the whole episode was an assassination attack on Nsugbe community by indigenes of Nneyi Umueri.
The source said Nsugbe community has a judgement of 1906 on the said land. It said that the genesis of the crisis recently was that Nneyi Umueri planted a beacon on their land and when they removed it, crisis ensued between the two communities.
Efforts to reach the Police Public Relations Officer of the Anambra State Police Command, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu proved unsuccessful as the police spokesman declined comments on the Nsugbe/Umueri land crisis following his inability to respond to phone calls and reply message sent to him regarding the communal crisis.