The people of Ariam-Usaka Communities in Ikwauno Local government Area of Abia State have raised the alarm over the incessant killing of their kinsmen over a land dispute between them and Nkari community in Ini Local Government Area of Akwa-Abom State.
Lately, no fewer than four indigenes of the communities have allegedly been killed over the land dispute, raising tension in the area.
The communities, which shares boundaries with Akwa Ibom State, has suffered setback and killings for some time now over the land dispute.
But a source, who pleaded anonymity, told our correspondent that efforts made so far by the people of Ariam-Usaka to stop the attacks on their communities had yet to yield any result due to the lack of commitment by the state government to finding a lasting solution to the ugly incidents of killings.
The source also confirmed the alleged killing of four persons by the Nkari people.
The victims include Iroegbulam Isaac, Boniface Ugwunna, Ihenacho Orioha, and Uwaechegi Ugorji.
It was also alleged that the bodies of some indigenes of Ariam-Usaka allegedly killed by the Nkari people had yet to be recovered due to the tension in the disputed area.
This situation resulted in a peaceful protest last week in Usaka- Ukwu Community by the indigenes of Ariam-Usaka, who turned out in large numbers to remind the state government of her duty of protecting lives and property of the people.
But in a swift reaction to the incident, the Acting Governor of the state, Sir Ude Oko chukwu, last Friday, visited Usaka Ukwu community, where the killings took place and assured them of government’s readiness and commitment to ending the crisis.
He also expressed deep worries over the killings, and further stated that action would be taken to curtail such incidents to end the crisis.
“The government is committed to protecting lives and properties,” he said.
Abia State Police Public Relations Officer, Superintendent Geoffrey Ogbonna, confirmed the killings, but noted that the Police were doing everything to resolve the crisis.
Recall that during the week it was reported that Ariam-Usaka, made up of nine autonomous communities, was under siege following the boundary dispute between them and their neighbouring communities in Akwa-Ibom State.
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 boundary, attacked his people over a land issue.
He further stated that if proactive measures were not taken by constituted authorities, they might resort to self-defence.
On his part, the Commissioner for Housing in the state, Hon. Theophilus Ugboajah, who is also an Indigene of the area, wondered why such attacks could be undertaken by the Nkari people, even when both governments were making efforts to resolve the crisis.
The commissioner said the attack was disheartening, because the two states had a peace meeting at the Military Base along Ikot- Ekpene border in May,2020 , where all the warring communities from each state and local government met.
He said all parties at the meeting were advised to maintain peace and allow the government to resolve the dispute amicably.
However, some indigenes of Usaka-Ukwu community have accused their state government of not doing enough to resolve the perennial boundary disputes, warning that if urgent steps were not taken, they would resort to self-help, as they had already lost four persons.
They also used the opportunity to call on the government to provide them with good road network and other basic social amenities, adding that they had been neglected for a long time by successive governments.