Anambra State government has said that communities engaging in clashes over landed properties stand the risk of losing them to the state government.
The state’s deputy governor, Dr Nkem Okeke stated this Sunday during a reconciliation meeting between Umunachi and Ogidi communities, where they resolved a 100-year-old feud.
Okeke said it would be the first time he was being invited as a deputy governor to witness an amicable settlement of a land dispute in the state.
He confessed that as the chairman of the state’s boundary commission, that his biggest headache has always been how to tackle issues relating to land tussles.
“Each time I am to preside over a land issue, I develop headache. The most difficult job I have to deal with as a deputy governor is land dispute.
“I just came back from Abuja yesterday where we went to visit the National boundary commission over our land dispute with Enugu and Kogi.
“What I do not understand is why every community has land dispute in Anambra. I am happy because this is the first time I am being called that two communities accepted on their own to make peace and shun killing. I am very happy.
“I am calling on other communities to emulate you. I am saying this because government has the right to acquire any landed property that remains in dispute, for the overriding interest of peace. When we do so, the feuding communities will lose,” he added.
The Umunachi, Ogidi land tussle, which dates back to 1930 has elicited court actions, which had gone up to the Supreme Court, and had also led to crisis, causing the loss of lives and property, until both communities accepted to embrace peace.
Chief Sam Anyanwutaku, a business man and indigene of Ogidi community who facilitated the truce said he was moved to push for peace after having experienced the strained relationship between his community Ogidi and their neighbours, Umunachi.
“We used to intermarry, but because of this land issue, we no longer do so. Today, we are happy that we have come together and accepted to resolve our differences,” he stated.
The reconciliation meeting was attended by the traditional rulers of both communities, other community leaders and the Catholic and the Anglican Bishops of the area.