The attention of Anaku community has been drawn to an incoherent, malicious and deceitful insinuation, published by Orient Daily News online, and accessed on 18 June 2020 under the link:
We have read with dismay all the baskets of lies concocted in the above article in order to twist facts and misinform the general public, hence, this rebuttal to clarify and put the record straight. The people of Amikwe Omor in their penchant strategy, invaded a piece of land belonging to Obukwu kindred Anaku in May 2020 but the matter was timely managed by Ayamelum LGA which settled it with the active participation of the traditional rulers of the two communities. An agreement was signed that everybody should maintain peace and status-quo. Unfortunately, Omor people started building houses on the disputed area of land belonging to Anaku so that before the constituted boundary adjustment committee visits the area, they will claim ownership of the place.
The people of Omor attacked late Mr Ayaduno Obodeze and other indigenes of Anaku, in 2008, with machetes and AK47 at Egbeachala farmland which eventually led to his untimely death. Equally the same year the people of Omor massacred late Mr Ozoemena Edunor. In 2016 the Omor people and their mercenaries shot sporadically at several persons from Anaku and decimated late Mr Okaka Atumanya on the same piece of land; took his body away and mutilated it. The matter reported to the government and suspects charged to court but it died in Otuocha high court without justice. In their impunity, 2015, the people of Omor demolished Obukwu Town hall and the country homes of Mr Raphael Onochie, Stephen Ndife, Chijioke Okechukwu, Oranefo Nwakwudo. In 2019 the people of Omor equally burnt down Ayamelum customary court at Ikpa obukwu Anaku.
Based on historical antecedents, the people of Omor are known by the public for their track records of violent tendencies, brutality, vain arrogance, greed, disrespect for laws and constituted authorities. There are overwhelming evidences that Omor town is determined to suppress and erase every other Ayamelum neighbour and grab their lands through wars of attrition which has become even more pronounced since the coronation of their major sponsor, Igwe Oranu Chris Chidume. There are, to wit, exploding and worrisome records of land and boundary disputes between Omor town and their neighbours – Amikwe OMOR and Ikenga ANAKU; Akanator OMOR and Eriator IGBAKWU (since 1919 till date); Amikwe OMOR and Umuerike UMERUM; Isinkakwu OMOR and Akpi ANAKU; OMOR and IFITE and the latest one between OMOR and UMUMBO. Why is Omor always on the news for the wrong reason?
Each of these conflicts/ inter-communal clashes has led to wanton destruction of multiple lives and properties worth huge amounts of money. Of equal if not greater importance is the atmosphere of bitterness, resentment, enmity, daunting and protracted legal suits such conflicts create among the neighbouring towns in the local government defeating the aim of working together as brothers and sisters and coexisting harmoniously in peace for the achievement of progress and development in our local government as a political unit.
Amikwe (OMOR) – Obukwu (ANAKU) and Umuerike (Umerum) Tripartite
Against the dangerous and malicious claim by Amikwe Omor that they jointly own a piece of land with Obukwu Anaku and Umuerike Umerum, we state categorically that the claim is totally false. The true story is that in the 1920s, the people of Igbariam were crossing the Ezu River to the side of Anaku to claim farmlands. This was quite unexpected given the fact that Ezu River was a natural boundary. The encroachment was duly resisted by the people of Obukwu – an action that led to a litigation process at the native court in the wake of colonial rule in Nigeria.
During the litigation, the people of Amikwe (Omor) and Umuerike (Umerum), offered their support the people of Obukwu. After the case was won by Obukwu, and to ensure no further encroachments to the farmlands, the people of Amikwe (Omor), Obukwu (Anaku) and Umuerike (Umerum) struck an agreement to allow free farming on their borders. This is similar to the Schengen Agreement, signed on 14 June 1985, leading to the creation of Europe’s Schengen Area, in which internal border checks have largely been abolished within the member states of the then European Economic Community.
The alliance, Amikwe-Ikenga-Umuerike, which became known as Akwukwa Nato, made a covenant of love and brotherhood which was enshrined in Nne Mulu Nne, the mother who bore mothers, in order to cement their agreement. They also started worshipping at Nne Mulu Nne, a traditional worship shrine situated at Obukwu land – and whose ipso facto Priest is from Obukwu, Ikenga, Anaku. Beside the tripartite, there is no other community of Ayamelum that reverences Nne Mulu Nne. The shrine of Nne Mulu Nne is on the farming land in Obukwu away from living places. It is a place where the people of Akwukwa Nato but also other communities took refuge during the popular adda war.
In 1974 Shell-BP Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited came to rent the land at Alo location in Obukwu, Ikenga, Anaku, for the purposes of oil exploration. The people of Obukwu, therefore, invited other alliances of Amikwe (Omor) and Umuerike (Umuerum) to become co-owners of the oil wells. At that time, land was in abundance, and there was relative peace among the people. A twelve (12)-man committee, comprising 4 members from each community, was raised to oversee the activities of Shell on the land. The ANAKU oil field – comprising Anaku Shallow/ A and Anaku Deep/ D locations – is evident in all documents concerning the rental as well as previous geographical maps that the portion of land belongs to Anaku.
In 1980 the Federal Government of Nigeria provided an irrigation infrastructure for the benefit of the local farmers in the area. The lands for the rice fields were acquired from Umumbo, Omor, Umuerum, and Anaku communities. The Lower Anambra/Imo Irrigation Project (LAIP) was achieved using a location Map (1982), created by the federal government of Nigeria (Ofuebe 1993, Enweonye 2020). The LAIP allocated specific number of plots to each of the four communities according to the size of land expropriated from them. The land of Amikwe (Omor), Obukwu, Ikenga (Anaku) and Umuerike (Umerum) communities jointly constitute the South West Zone of the project. In 2007, the farmers from Omor forced other farmers out of the South West zone, including Anaku and Umerum farmers who have statutory shares in area; see, FHC/EN/CS/12/2008 (Amikwe Vs AIRBDA).
As part of the conditions for settlement in the above case, the people of Amikwe paid two hundred and ten thousand naira (NGN210,000) for 105 plots of land and another two hundred and eight thousand naira (NGN208,000) for 104 plots at the rate of two thousand naira (NGN2,000) per plot to the people of Obukwu Ikenga (Anaku) and Umuerike (Umerum) as compensation for forceful entry and cultivation of their rightful plots at the W11 area of the LAIP for 2007 rain-fed farming season (Enweonye 2020).
Our Positions and Pleas to the government
There have been a couple of previous maps/ land surveys established by both the colonial and federal governments of Nigeria which served different political, administrative and demographic purposes. Of these maps, only about three clearly delineated inter-communal boundaries of Ayamelum towns in ways that may still be relevant today. These maps have been fully and comprehensively described in the book, “The British Westernization of Nigeria and Cameroun” written by Enweonye Igwebuike (Enweonye 2020). We suggest they should be referred to as necessary. The maps/ surveys include:
1) Administrative Map of Southern Nigeria (1905) created by the British colonial government. This did not specifically include Ayamelum clan.
2) The Topographical Map of Onitsha Province (1925) by Rev G.T Basden also of colonial government. Besides waterside Umuerum (Ezu river), the rest of Ayamelum was cut off.
3) Map of Onitsha Province (1935) created by Land and Survey department, Lagos, Nigeria. This showed some boundaries of towns in Ayamelum clan.
4) Revised Map of Onitsha Province, reproduced in 1956 by Survey department of Lagos with some improvements, showing boundaries of virtually all the communities in Ayamelum clan.
5) The Lower Anambra/Imo Irrigation Project (LAIP) Map of 1982, created by the federal government of Nigeria under the River Basins Development Authorities Act. This project map contains all the communities in Ayamelum clan and shows the delineation of all the community (Umumbo, Omor, Umuerum, and Anaku) lands and boundaries from which the project land was expropriated.
Of pertinent note is the fact that each of these communities from which lands were expropriated received compensations for damages from the federal government based on the marked-out inter-communal boundaries.
Therefore we are calling on the government of the state to use the above mentioned topographical information to intervene and see that peace is restored and justice done on the matter by ensuring that we have boundaries between Omor and Anaku, Omor and Umumbo, Omor and Igbakwu as well as other communities in the area for peace to reign.