IG Of Police
Mr John Ukah, Chairman of Amata community in Ishiagu, Ivo local government area of Ebonyi has appealed to the Federal Government (FG) to intervene in the boundary dispute between his community and Lekwensi community in Abia state .
The boundary dispute between the two neighbouring communities was fueled recently when people of Lekwensi in Umunochi local government area of Abia state allegedly attacked Amata people who were carrying out communal work on the ‘disputed’ land.
Ukah, who alleged that the unprovoked incessant attacks on his people by their Lekwensi neighbours were affecting their farming activities in the area appealed to the National Boundary Commission to quickly come to their rescue.
The chairman who decried the attacks alleged that one of their kinsmen was shot and killed by yet to be identified men from Lekwensi in 2019 at the disputed area adding that the latest attack on Saturday, May 30 left two of their people seriously wounded.
Police in Ebonyi confirmed the incident which also led to the abduction of people from both communities.
Normalcy has however returned to the disputed area following the deployment of tactical teams from both Ebonyi and Abia states Police Commands to patrol the area.
Ukah, who alleged that the disputed ‘Eguoji’ farmland, belonged to their community noted that Amata people had been farming in the area since prehistoric time before granite stone was discovered on the land.
“Lekwensi people started encroaching on the land when granite was discovered and Crush Stone company began business of quarrying in the place.
“Our forefathers lived and built farm-steads in the area and for thousands of years we have never had any problems of land dispute with our Lekwensi neighbours until few years ago.
“The Lekwensi people are claiming that the boundary between the two communities is the Railway line that cut almost through the centre of Ishiagu town.
“They claimed that the NBC adjusted the boundary between Amata and Lekwensi communities to the railway line that is within Ishiagu community.
“To us, this is the biggest lie we have heard from any rational people and only the NBC can make clear the true position.
“The people in shear act of provocation, in 2019 harvested the rice we planted in the affected area.
“They shot and killed one Danial, our kinsman last year; the latest attack came on Saturday, May 30 when our people were carrying out communal work, preparatory for the 2020 rice planting season.
“Two of our people, Mr Pius Chika and George Onyeleke sustained heavy gunshot injuries and have been in an intensive care unit in a hospital.
“We have been appealing to our youths not to embark on reprisal attack against the people of Lekwensi.
“We believe that the timely intervention of the FG through the NBC will safe a looming full scale inter community boundary war.
“We cannot be intimidated and we as a community cannot relinquish our right to our bona-fide property,” Ukah said.
Gov. Dave Umahi
He applauded the government of Ebonyi for its timely response and appealed to Gov. Dave Umahi to ensure that no part of Ebonyi territory was illegally and forcefully taken over by beleaguerant neighbours.
“I want to commend the state government for show of support to our people in this trying moment.
“The governor responded immediately by sending his Deputy, Dr Eric Kelechi-Igwe who led other high government officials on fact-finding visit to our community and assured us of their commitment to ensure that the dispute is timely resolved.
“We want to appeal for state government’s assistance to settle hospital bills of the injured persons,” he added