Achala, Urum Land Dispute: ‘More People May Die In Awka-North’

Raymond Ozoji, Awka

Urum and Achala communities in Awka-North local government area of Anambra state have been enmeshed in a land dispute that has allegedly claimed some lives and property.

The communities are not willing to sheathe their swords as they both claim ownership of the disputed land.

John Nwokoye, who is the lawmaker representing Awka-North state constituency in the House of Assembly, had presented the matter to the state assembly, where he said that he was being accused by some political juggernauts of instigating the crisis between Achala and Urum communities.

The lawmaker, who is a native of Achala, told his colleagues in the 7th state assembly that it would amount to a monumental sacrilege if he had a hand in the crisis between his community and Urum.

He said in spite of the misunderstanding between both communities, he was elected into the state assembly by the entire people of Awka-North including Urum community and there was absolutely no reason whatsoever for him to take sides with Achala community let alone instigate the problem.

Nwokoye noted that it was absolutely imperative for Governor Willie Obiano to intervene in the Achala-Urum land squabble to avert further catastrophes.

He maintained that inasmuch as he could not summon the police to arrest the situation, the governor could prevail on the security agency to maintain peace, law and order between both communities; while a panel of inquiry is set up to dig deep into the remote causes of the dispute between the two warring communities.

The lawmaker further stressed the need to avert more deaths and that government should help broker truce in the area for peace to return again.

He said, “The governor should constitute a panel of inquiry over a land dispute between Achala and Urum communities. As a lawmaker representing Awka-North, I have tried my best to make peace by organising a peace committee, just to add to the one to be set up by His Excellency.

“I have received a lot of distress calls from the members of my constituency concerning another clash between the two communities. Information reaching me as at the time of the distress calls was that about two or three persons have been lost by both communities.
“Everybody is now on my neck because my people see me as their own governor. They are calling me to get security men but you know I don’t have powers to order the commissioner of police to take his men to the scene.

“No life will resurrect again after being lost. I’m urging you my colleagues to join me in reminding His Excellency of our resolution. Some people are already using the crisis as an advantage to politick; inciting some Urum people that I’m the one sponsoring Achala people. The same political juggernauts are telling Achala people that I’m aligning myself with Urum community to take the land from them which is why I did not ask them what they are doing.

“I wonder how a legislator with integrity will associate himself with this kind of mess. Nobody will like his community to be in disarray under his regime. My people are dying. A lot of problems are in my constituency but this particular one is out of hand. Let there be peace in my constituency.”

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