As the protracted bound
ary dispute between Ikem and Neke autonomous communities in Isi-Uzo Local Government Areas of Enugu State continues without any form of solution in sight, the traditional ruler of one of the warring communities, Ikem, Igwe Ambassador Francis Okwor, has called on the state government to intervene in the matter to avoid more bloodshed among the people in the dispute.
Igwe Okwor, who made the call while addressing journalists in Enugu, Wednesday, pleaded with Governor Chime to do everything within his power to see that peace returned to the two communities.
The traditional ruler, however, accused the Chairman of the Local Government, Hon. Augustine Nnamani, an indigene of Neke of fuelling the boundary dispute crisis by instigating his people to go to court over the boundary that had been demarcated between the two communities years ago by the state government to avoid communal class.
The royal father traced the land dispute between the two communities to as far back as 1952, adding that Neke community encroached on their land in 1952 and when Ikem people sought that the land be demarcated.
According to him, Uzo Agu town association, an umbrella organisation that bound the five communities of the area, Ikem, Neke, Umualor, Eha Amufu and Mbu, insisted that land should not be demarcated among brothers and Ikem people agreed with a proviso that Neke people should not go beyond Ngene Ikwe, a stream, to come to Ikem.
The two communities, the traditional ruler further explained, continued to live as brothers without official demarcation until 1976 when a secondary school was built in Ikem known as Ikem Secondary School, Ikem.
He said the people of Neke recently rose up and said the school should no longer be called and known as Ikem Secondary School but Ikem/Neke Secondary School, the name it is still bearing till date.
The people of Ikem, he went on, reluctantly agreed to avoid blood shed, as that would have ended the matter, if not that some Neke people started building on the land adjacent to the school premises claiming that the school is not the boundary, but a place called Ugwu Okwunene.
Igwe Okwor also explained that due to the continued encroachment and the erecting of buildings on Ikem land adjacent to the school premises, some people in Ikem rose up and were attacked by Neke people who inflicted machete cuts on five people from his community.
He said as if that was not enough, during the fracas that ensued, one Neke man died and Neke people claimed that it was Ikem people that killed him and thus four people are being held in police detention for more than four months now.
Igwe Okwo wondered why it was Neke people that took people of his community to court instead of Ikem taking them to court.
Igwe Okwor alleged that the state government asked the council chairman, Hon. Augustine Nnamani, to build a concrete beacon around the Ugwu Okwunene to stop the encroaching of Neke to the school premises “which he has not done up till this day”.
When contacted to react on the development and the allegations leveled against him over the communal clash and the ensuing court case, Hon. Augustine Nnamani declined to comment on the matter, but rather sent a text message claiming not to be involved in the matter.
As the protracted bound