By Ikeugonna Eleke
Anambra Civil Society Network (ACSONET), a platform for citizens and non-state actors, and some aspirants for the Anambra governorship seat, have condemned the crisis between Aguleri and Umueri communities, both in Anambra East LGA of the state.
Aguleri and Umuleri had last week, Saturday January 16, resumed their hostilities over a disputed plot of land. Both communities had between 1999 and 2001 engaged in a fierce war that claimed lives and properties.
In a release signed by its chairman, Prince Chris Azor, ASCONET implored indigenes of the two communities to eschew all forms of violence and pursue peace option towards settling their grievances and differences.
The statement reminded both communities of their age long ties of affinity and brotherhood, and called on their traditional rulers and leaders to convoke peace building and conflict resolution dialogue meetings that would engender sustainable peaceful coexistence among them.
The group said, ‘The escalation of the crisis may adversely affect life and livelihoods of our people, more so during this COVID-19 pandemic and its debilitating social and economic challenges.’
It commended Governor Willie Obiano for his rapid response in ensuring calm in the affected communities.
Meanwhile, the duo of Mr Valentine Ozigbo and Hon Chris Azubogu, both governorship aspirants of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, have joined their voices in condemnation of the crisis which erupted in the area.
Ozigbo, immediate past President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Transcorp PLC, in a press statement he issued last Sunday, decried the recurring violence between both communities, describing the development as is entirely condemnable, while suing for authorities to intervene and establish a lasting peace.
Azubogu, a member of the House of Representatives, representing Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo Federal Constituency in his own statement, also condemned the crisis, describing the destruction of property as inhuman.
‘We are a republican people by nature who resolve disputes through community meetings; not wars. Killings and destruction of property reduce our humanity and going forward, we should shun both, as means of conflict resolution,’ Azubogu said.
He said no part of the state should be allowed to be engulfed in avoidable strife at a time the state should be evolving strategies to keep the post-COVID-19 economy afloat, describing the situation as too unfortunate.
‘Incidentally, we are about to enter farming season and crisis like this can only be an invitation to hunger,’ he said.