By Vincent Ujumadu
NO fewer than 18 houses were torched following a renewed boundary fight between Aguleri and Umuleri, both in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State, with the people of Umuleri appealing to Governor Willie Obiano to quickly intervene in the matter before it engulfs the area.
It was gathered that what triggered off the latest face-off was land dispute between the two communities, with Umuleri laying claim to the said piece of land.
President-General of Umueri community, Chief Pius Okonkwo, and other leaders of the community told reporters, yesterday, in Awka that they were being pushed to the wall, even as they insisted that they did not want another war in the area.
He alleged that about a month ago, some youths suspected to be from Aguleri invaded Umuleri and destroyed houses and fences, in addition to inflicting injuries on some people.
According to him, the bone of contention was a parcel of land allegedly belonging to Umueri, adding that the attack was against the spirit of an agreement reached in the wake of the infamous war between the two communities from 1999 to 2002 that claimed many lives and called on the state government to implement the recommendations contained in the white paper.
He said: “Umuleri people want peace. We do not want to fight wars with our neigbours because we believe that wars are anathema and an ill wind which blows no one any good.
“Specifically, Umuleri wants enduring and genuine peace with Aguleri because we have built relationships (personal as well as business and even religious) with Aguleri people over several decades, if not centuries. We cherish these relationships and want to protect them.”
“We appeal to the governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, who hails from Aguleri, to use this opportunity of being at the helm of affairs in our state, to put in place the machinery for achieving genuine peace between Aguleri community and Umueri.
“We are also worried that his people are spoiling for war at a time he is facing re-election challenges.
“It is our prayer that Aguleri and Umueri should be at peace so that our people responding to the Arewa quit notice and other sad developments in contemporary Nigeria, can run home to take refuge therein if they can no longer put up with the unbearable situation elsewhere.”