-From Sunny A. DAVID (South-East Bureau Editor)
Indigenes of Abba Community in Njikoka LGA of Anambra State have lamented the incessant attacks and wanton destruction of properties in their community by people believed to be from the neighbouring Ukpo Community.
Our correspondent who visited the area reports that the attacks were linked to a lingering land tussle between both communities which had lingered for about 50 years.
A visit to the scene of the most recent attacks reveals that the perimeter fences of two houses belonging to Chief Pius Nweke CEO Best Aluminium Manufacturing Company and his brother Chief Godwin Nweke were pulled down with a bulldozer by suspected members of Ukpo community who were allegedly accompanied by men of the Nigerian Police Force.
When contacted, Chief Nweke said his ordeal is as a result of his support to his community to ensure that they do not lose their ancestral land to Ukpo community.
The traditional ruler of Abba Community, Igwe Leonard Eze and another prominent member of the Community Prof. James Adichie, father to to the novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie appealed to the relevant authorities to restrain members of the Ukpo Community from further attacks and await the legal process to take due course.
Community leaders of Abba led by Mr. Alex Maduka, our correspondent was told, the tension built by the action would have snowballed into a conflagration.
The Abba Main Market and parts of Abba Secondary School had earlier been demolished in February last year.
He said the demolitions had made the people of Abba lose millions of naira and brought so much anxiety among the people.
The Community leader wondered why security operatives and the State government had not taken decisive actions to end the crisis between Abba and Ukpo, which had lingered for about 50 years.
Mr. Maduka said: “We persuaded our people who came out not to retaliate because the police are not on our side, as any action we take might result in human casualties.”
“In as much as we do not want to engage Ukpo people in physical confrontation, we will continue to engage them in court until we get justice.”
It will be recalled that an Anambra High Court sitting at Neni, Anaocha Local Government Area, presided over by Hon. Justice Onyinye Anumonye ruled on Tuesday that the Supreme Court decision on the issue of change of appellants in the lingering land dispute between Ukpo and Abba was final and cannot be revisited or re-heard by any other court in the country.
Also it is instructive to note that the land dispute involving Abba, Ukwulu and Ukpo has been subject of litigation spanning several decades.