By Phil Okose Onitsha
Eziagulu-Otu, Enugu-Otu and Mkpunando Aguleri communities in Anambra East local government area of Anambra and their counterparts in Ibaji local government area, Kogi state -Odeke, Ihile and Echeno – had been locked in a bloody land tussle until recently.
The peaceful resolution of the war over land ownership, through oath-taking, (Iko Mmee) it was gathered, is the most fearful means of dispute settlement in the war-torn communities and neighbourhood as death awaits defiant ones.
The sponsor of the peace settlement, Omabala Indigenous Youth Foundation, (OIYF) resolved to use the Nsukka residence of the traditional ruler of Ifite-Ogwari, Igwe Alphonsus Ofuebe, for the peace covenant.
At the venue, three people from each state, representing the three communities at war with their rivals, did the oath-taking covenant, (Iko mmee) which is binding on all indigenes of the warring communities in both states. The three representatives from Kogi who swore to the oath included, chairmen of Odeke, Echeno and Ihile and they were Edwin Ajodo, Ezekiel Amajeh and Egwuna Gabriel while those from Anambra were, chairmen of Eziagulu-Otu, Chief Obidike Eneanya, that of Enugu-Otu, Chief Joe Obiorah and that of Mkpunando/Agulu-Otu, Chief Igboanugo Ilochi.
In his post covenant speech, the chairman of OIYF, Comrade Simon Okafor Iyielioba, recalled the efforts the foundation made to stop the senseless killings he said had spanned over five years and thanked God that the foundation was able to help restore the lost glory of both states as brothers.
“We salute you all and pray that this is the beginning of a new era in the history of the warring communities, as brothers reach out to their brothers for peace and lasting resolution to their differences in whatever form”, he stated.
He paid glowing tribute to the late chairman of the Peace Initiation Committee, Anambra/ Kogi States boarder crisis, Chief Emmanuel Akabueze, who he said was not alive to see what he started came to fruition.
He also commended the President General of Eziaguluotu-Aguleri, Chief Onwuetiaka Anthony Ezechukwu who witnessed the oath-taking, Chief Davis Akor, community leader, Echeno, who led the Kogi delegates to the venue at Nsukka, Enugu state and the patron of OIYF, Chief Ifeanyi Abala, for his financial encouragement.
Also the Attah Igala, Agabaidu (Dr) Idakwo Ameh Oboni, Eze (Dr) N.N. Kelly Oba, Okalakwu Igbariam and Eze Chukwuemeka Eri, Eze Nri, Eze Ora 34th, Akajiovo Igbo. Ime Obu Gad, Enugwu Aguleri, were commended to have put in their money and time.
Speaking, the patron of OIYF, Abala said the only thing that would bring peace and development was this oath-taking covenant and commended all who contributed in cash and kind for the peace restoration.