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New autonomous community sparks protest in Enugu

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• Governor assures probe
The people of Amafor Ugbawka Autonomous Community in Nkanu East Council of Enugu State are protesting against the creation of Umuisu, a new autonomous community, out of Amafor.

Members of the community, who staged a peaceful demonstration to the Enugu Government House, yesterday, expressed displeasure that an individual’s desire to hold the reins had divided the once united community.

In a protest letter to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, signed by 31 indigenes of the community, the people stated that nobody sought their consent before Umuisu and Umukwesiri villages were carved out of Amafor Ugbawka, and made an autonomous community.

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Spokesperson for the protesters, Mr. Bartholomew Nwankwo, told the governor that none of the four villages that make up Amafor Ugbawka, including Amagu Ugbawka, Isienu, Umuisu Ugbawka and Umukwesiri, had demanded an autonomous community.

He urged the governor to probe the development, stressing that the creation of a new autonomous community out of Amafor has brewed tension in the area since December last year.

The protest letter read in part: “At no time did our people aspire to be created into an independent autonomous community away from our kith and kin in the Amafor Ugbawka Autonomous Community. The whole shenanigan and all the manipulations that preceded this misfortune is the handiwork of one upstart (name withheld) flaunting his unflattering nouveau riche status, and in his maddening desire to create a fiefdom for himself

“He has gone ahead to constitute an inauguration committee for his installation as the traditional ruler of the same putative community in circumstances that divest the people of any participation in the process.”

Whatever may be the benefits of a proliferation of autonomous communities, according to the letter, is a great disservice to the collective psyche and conscience of the people, especially when the characters involved are not worthy models of inspirational reference.

The protesters argued that the rationale behind the new creation could produce results that grossly negate the original noble intention of autonomous communities, “especially in a locale predominantly steeped in socio-cultural nuances that can easily implode when trivially handled.”

Nwankwo called on the governor to call officials of the Ministry of Chieftaincy Matters to order, and conduct a discreet investigation on the purported new autonomous community.

Responding, Ugwuanyi promised to investigate the issues raised by the protesters, and urged them to go home and ensure that peace reigned in the area.

He further said that peace was necessary to ensure meaningful development t in all parts of the state.

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