Recently, the social media was filled with the story and picture of a prominent Abba high chief and an illustrious son of Anambra State, Chief Pius Nweke of the Best Aluminium fame. He was seen in the picture handcuffed and standing at the premises of a police station holding what looked like a pistol said to have been discovered in his possession. The firearm was said to be unlicensed.
His arrest, which was said to have been made at Awada, Onitsha, was however believed not to be unconnected to the ongoing feud between his community, Abba, in Njikoka LGA; and Ukpo, in Dunukofia LGA. The two communities have been locked in battle over land, a matter that is still a court case
Nweke was described in the story as the richest man in Abba and the one leading Abba people to protest against a court judgement in favour of Ukpo, led by oil magnate, Arthur Eze.T#24@p
Nweke was reportedly arrested by 13.00 hours on the said day in what some, especially his people, saw as a set-up, just as they believed the gun was planted evidence to frame him.
The feud between the two neighbouring communities has been going on for years, though it had recently assumed a more dangerous dimension, with property being destroyed and people, mainly from Abba, being arrested by the police.
The recent arrest of Chief Nweke, however, appears to be the climax of the feud so far.
While we do not intend to take sides on the matter or delve into the court judgements, we nevertheless call for caution in the handling of this matter by the law enforcement agencies in order not to further exacerbate the matter.
Indeed, from what we have observed going on, the situation may yet develop into a full scale war between the two communities at a time the state is still trying to recover from a similar one between Omor and Umumbo Communities in Anambra North which claimed lives and damaged lots of property.
It is therefore to guard against a repeat of the above that we urge the Government of Anambra State to urgently dabble into this matter. It should not wait until war breaks out to set up a committee to look into the immediate and remote causes of what must have happened before then.
It is said that when there is no justice, anarchy becomes a guest. Government must therefore ensure that the law enforcement agencies are not taking sides as alleged by Abba People and neutrals.
As for the communities, they should be ready to embrace a more peaceful means of settling their dispute and if at the end of the day any side emerges victorious in the final court, the other party should be ready to respect the judgement.
But for now, the state government should act before it becomes too late.