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14 Journalists Escape Death, 4 Persons Injured as Armed Police clash with Community Over Land Dispute In Anambra

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By Nkem Orah, Awka

At least, Fourteen journalists escaped death by whiskers while four persons including a policeman sustained various degrees of injury when the Ezinano Community in Awka clashed with armed Policemen in a land dispute between the it and the Enugu Agidi town in Njikoka local government area of Anambra state.

Trouble started during in the morning of Saturday when hundreds of elders, leaders, women and youths of Ezinano Community in Awka South local government area stormed the disputed land but armed policemen stationed within the land started shooting guns and teargas in an ensuing pandemonium.

The journalists drawn from various media houses were caught in the cross fire between the policemen and the aggrieved people of Ezinano Community when they went to verify if actually the police besiege the land.

One of the policemen told newsmen that they were at the disputed land on the order of the Commissioner of Police, adding that they were not dragging land with members of Ezinano Community nor those of Enugu Agidi Community.

The protesting elders, leaders and others from the protesting community accused the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, CP Aderemi Adoye of alleged connivance with people of Enugu Agidi Community by deploying policemen to the disputed land in order to protect them.

They disclosed that various court judgments decided since 2005 when the dispute began, 2019 and till date, had favoured the people of Ezinano Community in Awka South local government area of the state.

According to elders, leaders and women of Ezinano Community, the Enugu Agidi people had reneged an oral alimony between them and Ezinano Community to vacate the land but instead they started building houses and other construction of structures on the land and also resisted attempts by host Ezinano community to enter their ancestral land.

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They urged the police to restrain themselves from the disputed land in order to allow peace to reign.

Also they stated that they have lost millions of naira worth of farm produce which the Enugu Agidi people had destroyed and even prevented them from harvesting since this year’s harvest season as well as prevented them from entering their completed and ongoing building projects.

Speaking on the land dispute a member of the Board Of Trustees of Ezinano community Chief Kanayochukwu Obidigbo contended that the people of Enugu Agidi are tenants in the land and have been paying tenancy fee to his Community for cultivating the land.

He stated that the community had reported to the State Police Commissioner Aderemi Adeoye that he sent officers and men of the Command to take over the community land which the Commissioner denied.

*We had made a petition to the Commissioner of Police over the deployment of officers and men to take over the land but he denied the allegations”

“But today you all saw what happened here that policeman are occupying our land and this is the handwork of a Deputy Police Commissioner who have been using them to deny us access to the land and you saw the shooting of guns and tear gas on our people by the orders of the Deputy Commissioner of Police”

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“What interest has the Deputy Commissioner of Police in our communal land ? Who is he working for and we use this medium to urge the Inspector General of Police to investigate this man because that Police Commissioner himself has washed his hands off the deployment of officers and men of the Command” he said

“Our Great grandfather’s got this land called Agu Nawgu which is about 6km reduce from the Mega station down there and I grew up and saw this land ”

“It has a survey plan of 1949 / 1959 by our Great grandfather’s with tittle and when Enugu Agidi people came to farm on the land we had agreement of them pay tenancy fee which they were paying and stopped at some point ”

The Enugu Agidi people suddenly started laying claim to the land and we won the case at the then Privy Council which was the Supreme Court as it where and part of the land was taken by the then Peter Obi administration and some later returned to us the Ezinano community” he said.
In swift reaction, the State Commissioner of Police, Aderemi Adeoye said that he didn’t send any policeman to the land in question.

” I did not post any policeman to that place and it is not my concern whatever happens there. So, I have no hand in this matter.” He maintained.

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