After over fifty years of strife and war over land boundary, Umuezeobodo, Ajilija village, Ogidi and Umudunu, Agbaja village, Abatete both in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State have decided to set aside their differences and commit to internal settlement and clear boundary demarcation.
As a result, the communities on Tuesday invited the Anambra State Boundary Committee to commission a boundary monument and road infrastructure, to demarcate the boundary between both communities.
TNC correspondent gathered that the boundary issue has been a subject of court litigations and fighting between both communities, although no life has been lost in the process.
Clearly engulfed by a thicket on the land in dispute, is the Comprehensive Health Centre, Abatete, built by the Federal Government, to serve people of both communities and their neighbours.
According to the Chairman of Agbaja village, Chief Ernest Ekunie, all the health workers posted to the facility had deserted the place due to insecurity, while health equipment at the facility have been consistently vandalized by hoodlums.
“Workers who were posted here were raped by criminals who have latched unto the crisis between us and our brothers from Ogidi over this boundary, and because of that, nobody wants to come here again.
“As you can see, this health facility which ought to have been providing quality health services to our people, has been left to ruins due to this age-long boundary dispute and our people now have to travel far distances to access medicare.
“This is why we are saying no to this land dispute and embracing peace with our Ogidi brothers,” Ekunie emphasized.
On his part, the President General of Ogidi Community, Chief Jideofor Onubogu lauded the commitment of both communities to putting an end to the imbroglio.
While stressing that there is no need for quarrel between the two communities over land, the community leader warned youths of both communities to stop the sale of the lands, which aggravates the whole problem.
In an address, the Secretary of the Reconciliation and Peace Committee of both communities, Professor Obiorah Ikpeze recalled that for more than 50 years, both communities have not been privileged to sit together to discuss as neighbours, adding that it was through the intervention of High Chief Sam Anyanwutaku, that the peace movement was initiated to resolve the lingering boundary issue.
“The first meeting between both communities was convened at Chief Anyanwutaku’s residence in January 2021, during which an expanded Boundary Delineation Sub-Committee was constituted with the mandate to delineate the boundary between the villages.
“After over seven sittings and so much work, the two communities wrote the state government in April, 2021, that settlement has been achieved and invited the State Boundary Committee to commence the boundary monuments,” he narrated.
Addressing the two communities, the convener of the peace accord between the communities, Chief Anyanwutaku noted that he ventured into the process because he believes that the pre-existing atmosphere of strife and crisis, has deprived both communities a lot of good things.
Emphasizing that he was only doing what God sent him to do, Chief Anyanwutaku urged both communities to be wary of anything that undermine the peace that has been entrenched with the boundary demarcation.
He also prayed that the peace will bring good things and development to the two communities.
“Peace is paramount for meaningful development to happen in any community and that was why I decided to pursue this peace accord.
“When I started, I never knew it would materialize to such lofty scenario as we are witnessing today and to God be the glory, the two brothers can now inter-marry and share things in common like they used to do before this land problem began years ago.
“It is my prayer that God will forgive our fore-fathers who spent huge resources sustaining the war against their own brothers over land.
“Thank God peace has come to stay and we can now sit down around the table of brotherhood and celebrate the end of this boundary dispute,” he exclaimed.
Commissioning the monuments to demarcate the boundary beween both communities, the Anambra State Deputy Governor, Dr Nkem Okeke regretted that issues of boundary and land related disputes, is taking a dangerous dimension with cases of arson, violence and loss of lives reported on a daily basis.
Dr Okeke commended both communities for agreeing to tow the path of peace and put aside their differences, extolling the contributions of Chief Anyanwutaku that saw to the successful resolution of the matter.
“It is noteworthy that Chief Anyanwutaku in 2018, brokered peace between Uruorji village, Ogidi and Mgbuke Village Umunachi and I was here to commission the boundary monuments.
“If every community in Anambra has his kind of person, I don’t think we will be having land disputes anywhere here.
“So, I wish to commend him immensely for his kind of heart and for allowing God to use him in this way,” he noted.
The deputy governor made it clear that boundary demarcations are merely for administrative purposes and not to be employed as a tool to cause strife and disunity among neighbours.
“Emphasis should be made on dialogue as a better means of resolving boundary disputes by communities rather than court litigations and violence.
“I am happy that people of Abatete and Ogidi embraced this option and to the glory of God, we are here today on a joyful mood.
“You are brothers and have maintained a history of cordial relationship for decades now.
“God forbid that this cordiality be jeopardized again because of land matters,” he warned.
Dr Okeke further reminded Anambra communities that sometimes, Government cannot solve problems between them and that it is only communities that can solve their internal problem, urging the people to be reasonable and pursue peace and harmony with one another.
Cultural dance performances by women of Abatete community as well as presentation of letter of commendation to Chief Sam Anyanwutaku for his role in brokering peace between communities having boundary issues in the state, was the highpoint of the ceremony.