By Mercy Hill
Residents of Isuaniocha Community in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State have beckoned on the state government to intervene in the communal land conflict that has led to crisis in the area to avert possible loss of life and property.
The President-General of the community, Chief Tony Onyeagolu, while speaking with newsmen regretted that the conflict had left six persons presently bedridden in the hospital and destroyed property worth millions of naira.
According to Mr. Onyeagolu, the Isuaniocha communal crisis had been on since April, 2018, explaining that it began as result of the community school fencing project awarded to the former local government chairman, Mr. Cosmas Okonkwo, who allegedly plotted and mapped away portions of the school land from the community and sold same. He said that the community had been trying to recover it.
The President General told newsmen that he had written petitions to all quarters, including the governor, the senior special adviser to the governor, and the Nigeria Police Force, regretting that nothing substantial had been done.
He also alleged that Cosmas Okonkwo had since then been threatening and confronting him which climaxed with the invasion of his business outlet in the late hours of the evening of Saturday, November 17, this year by some hoodlums.
He said that two of his vehicles were destroyed, as well as property amounting to millions of naira. He also claimed to have lost cash amounting to four hundred thousand naira, as well as items belonging to his customers.
He pleaded with the state government to come to their aid, as according to him, the situation could worsen if not properly handled.
An eye witness and victim of the raid, Mr. Emeka Ezejiegwu, who spoke to Fides, alleged that the hoodlums, numbering about 40, with some wearing the Isuaniocha vigilante uniforms, opened fire inside the Echonis Bar/Restaurant owned by Chief Tony Onyeagolu, demanding to see the President General.
When they could not find him, they retorted to vandalizing property, stole from customers, as well as harassed workers.
Attempts by Fides to get the reaction of Mr. Cosmas Okonkwo about the incident through phone calls and text messages proved abortive.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Haruna Mohammed, said the command had earlier was on top of the situation and that investigations had commenced.