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‘Anambra, Enugu ties stronger than border disputes’

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PHOTO: Enugu State Government

Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has stressed the need for peaceful co-existence among communities in boundary areas of Enugu and Anambra states.

He gave the advice in a meeting with delegates of both states at Government House, Enugu yesterday to resolve the boundary dispute between Awba-Ofe-Mmili in Awka North Local Council of Anambra State and Ibite-Olo in Ezeagu Local Council of Enugu State.

Represented by the deputy governor, Cecilia Ezeilo, the governor stated that both states have a strong socio-cultural affinity and should as a result enjoy an enduring peace especially at their border areas.

His words: “In approaching this matter, we should remind ourselves that Enugu and Anambra people are bound together by socio-cultural ties.

“We have lived together prior to the creation of both states from the old Anambra State in 1991. States creation was not meant to divide, it is rather for administrative convenience.”

He pointed out that there was an existing legal boundary instrument with the National Boundary Commission (NBC), which, according to him, clearly defined the demarcation.

Ugwuanyi, however, commended the Federal Government for its intervention in the matter in 2006 and 2011 and urged the communities to be law-abiding.

Corroborating the governor’s remark on the historical ties between both states, the deputy governor of Anambra State, Nkem Okeke, noted that such conflicts could be avoided if the people always remember that human life was ephemeral whereas land would ever remain in existence.

Okeke, who represented Governor Willie Obiano, said: “I know that as Igbo, we do not play with land. We take land as if our life depends on it and we fight for it with everything we have.

“But when you die, the land will be there for generations after. The fighting and killings over land are not worth it.”

He, therefore, called for a mutually acceptable resolution and charged communities in the dispute to sheathe their swords, adding that government
officials responsible for boundary demarcation will soon find a lasting solution to the conflict.

The delegates thereafter, went into a closed session and afterwards issued a communiqué extending the mandate of the security and peace committee  charged with the supervision of planting and harvesting of crops in the disputed area.

It also forbade the people from collecting money from farmers in the area or sell land, and temporarily banned investors from accessing the land.

They further called for the inclusion of the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) from the neighbouring communities in both states in the committee.


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