Communal Clash: Ariam-Usaka (Abia) communities cry out for government intervention over killing of citizens

Posted by News Express | 23 June 2020 | 742 times

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•Protesting Ariam-Usaka women

The people of Ariam-Usaka communities in Ikwauno Local Government Area of Abia State have cried out over the incessant killing of their citizens due to a land dispute between them and Nkari community in Ini Local Government Area of neighbouring Akwa Abom State.

A source who pleaded anonymity lamented that efforts made so far by the people of Ariam-Usaka to stop the attacks on their communities have not yielded positive result “due to the fact that the Abia State Government has not showed enough interest or commitment to bring a lasting solution to the ugly incident.” The source confirmed that so far, four Ariam-Usaka persons have been killed by Nkari people “and tension is still very high.” He named the victims as Iroegbulam Isaac, Boniface Ugwunna, Ihenacho Orioha, and Uwaechegi Ugorji.

News Express was informed that “the bodies of some of indigenes of Ariam-Usaka killed by Nkari people are yet to be recovered due to the tension in the disputed area.”

This sparked a peaceful protest last week Thursday, June 18, 2020 in Usaka-Ukwu by indigenes of Ariam-Usaka who turned out in large numbers, reminding the Abia State Government that it is her duty to protect lives and property of he citizens.

They also used the opportunity to call on government to provide them with good road network and other basic social amenities, maintaining that they have been neglected for a long time by successive governments.

In a swift reaction to the violence and protests, the Acting Governor of Abia State, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, on Friday paid a visit to Usaka Ukwu community and assured the people of government’s readiness and commitment to end the feud. He also expressed deep worries over the killings, assuring that action would be taken to bring lasting solution to the crisis. “The government is committed to protecting lives and properties,” the Acting Governor said.

Confirming the killings is the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of Abia State Command, SP. Georffrey Ogbonna, noted that the Police is doing everything possible to resolve the crisis.

On his part, Abia State Commissioner for Housing, Hon. Theophilus Ugboajah, an indigene of the area, wondered why such attacks could be undertaken by Nkari people even when both state governments are making efforts to resolve the crisis. He said it was “very disheartening” because they had a peace meeting at the Military Base along  Ikot-Ekpene border town on May 30, 2020, where all the warring communities from both states were advised to maintain peace and allow government resolve the dispute amicably.

It would be recalled that the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) had reported during the week that Ariam-Usaka, made up of nine autonomous communities, was under siege following the boundary dispute between it and neighboring communities in Akwa Ibom State. The report said that FRCN visited the area to ascertain the level of destruction and what led to the crisis. Speaking at his palace, the traditional ruler of Obugwu Autonomous Community in Ariam-Usaka, Eze Ambrose Nwagwu, narrated how the people of Nkari in Akwa Ibom State with whom they share a boundary attacked their people over the land dispute. He warned that if proactive measures are not taken by relevant authorities, his people may be forced to resort to self defence.

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Source: News Express

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