The people of Aguleri-Otu, Aguleri in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State who have been under severe attack by their neighbours in Acheonwa/Odeke in Ibaji Local Government Area of Kogi State yesterday cried out to both the federal and state governments to act fast to save the lives of people in the troubled area, as their patience was running out.
Aguleri people said they had kept strictly to the instruction of the state Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, not to retaliate the attacks on them but that their attackers had continued to attack them unabated, killing them and destroying their houses and property.
Briefing newsmen yesterday at the palace of the monarch of Aguleri, Igwe Christopher Idigo, the people disclosed that outside the two persons abducted and killed by the Kogians, whose names were given as Obalum Odealor and Onyeka Nebe, about three others were still missing.
At the briefing jointly addressed by the spokesman of the community, Chief Ralph Ugwa; the President General (PG) of Enugwu-Otu, Obiora Iwuno; Vice PG Aguleri, Chief Emma Ikem, Emma Akaora and Chief Joseph Osita, the people stated that, “as we are addressing you now they are still on our land Okpeze shooting our people. They even called us on phone saying they are chopping our brothers’ bodies. That is how bad it is and we don’t know how long we will wait for government to rescue us. Our patience is running out and we call on both the federal and the state governments to act now.”
They noted that though boundary issues between them and the people of Kogi State had existed for a long time, “peace has been reigning until the discovery of oil in Anambra. It was the oil thing that escalated the problem.”
They, however, wondered the reason for the present attack by the people of Kogi State when, according to them, talks were at advance level with the Federal Government and the two states to resolve the issue.
“In February 2008, a joint field team was set up by the Federal Government led by Surveyor David from the office of the surveyor general of the federation, we went into the field we made our claims, they made their claims.
“Later in 2009/2010 another team from the office of the surveyor general came with their terms of reference to Anambra Forest Reserve, then traced Anambra Forest Reserve. We made our claims, they made their claims, we tendered documents and all these documents are with the National Boundary Commission (NBC) up till date.
“Then some time in 2011 a meeting was organised by the NBC at J. Jumac Hotel, Awka. Each state made its own presentation, including Enugu State. After that, another meeting was organised at Lokoja by the NBC in conjunction with the office of the surveyor general and even the Presidency because it was directly under the control of the vice president who is the overall chairman of the committee. At that meeting, after all deliberations, we agreed and signed a communiqué.
“The summary of the communiqué are that on January 15 and 17, 2013, Kogi and Anambra states will bring three representatives each who will meet with the vice president, representatives of the surveyor general and representatives of NBC and the people concerned are the two surveyors general of the states, their assistants and the attorney general of the two states.
“They will form a committee to draw the technical map of the boundary of the two states and they did. After the Abuja meeting we were invited to the headquarters of Ibaji Local Government of Kogi State on February 11 for the flagging off of the field work.
“That field work was part of the communiqué signed at Lokoja Government House. So a date was chosen that day for the field work and that date was February 19. But while we were preparing for the field work, we got a message through our State Boundary Committee that the field work had been suspended indefinitely.”
“While we were trying to find out why it was suspended, the people of Acheonwa, in conjunction with Odeke people came to our farm settlement in Okpeze camp, cut down the sign board there, pulled down the primary school there and one Pentecostal Church around there and burnt down the whole buildings.
“We reported to our local government chairman and to the state government.”