The Nigerian Police Force has started 24-hour patrol on Abba-Ukpo boundaries, two communities in Njikoka and Dunukofia local government areas of Anambra State, after youths of Abba community clashed with unknown persons building on a disputed land popularly called Abba junction, along Enugu-Onitsha Expressway
It was gathered that the clash, which reportedly led to the burning of a Volkswagen Golf car and two motorcycles, escalated when a security man attached to one of the construction sites, fired gunshots at the advancing community people, who visited the sites to ascertain level of damages and encroachment, especially on the premises of Community Secondary School, Abba, by unknown persons.
Abba, Ukpo and Ukwulu, have been engaged in a protracted land dispute that resulted in the demolition and encroachment on private and public properties in Abba, including the Community Secondary School Abba, founded in 1982, and it is not clear if the land in dispute includes the portions on which the school is located.
On 3rd September, 2020, a delegation from the State Post – Primary School Service Commission, PPSSC, following a report of land encroachment addressed to Anambra State Ministry of Basic Education, visited Community Secondary School, Abba, to ascertain extent of land encroachment and damages done on government properties over the Abba vs Ukpo/Ukwulu land dispute.
The team, led by Messrs Nkiruka Chibuzor and Bridget Bielu, were received and conducted round the demolished structures by the Principal of the school, Mrs Rita Obidike, the Vice Principal, Mrs Azike Camelia, other school teachers, including Engineer Christian Obikee, as well as the PTA Chairman, Mr. Paul Akupue
Former Principal of the school, Mrs Uzoma Ugwumba, had, in a letter dated 30th June, 2020, solicited the intervention of appropriate authorities in Education sector over the demolition of the perimeter fence built by Abba community with fund released by the Willie Obiano administration for Community projects.
The demolished fence provided security for the school structures and properties therein, as well as the newly constructed Corps Members Lodge.After the delegation’s visit, and directives in a “white paper” released by the Anambra state government that ongoing construction works be stopped at the disputed land, among other things, work is ongoing at the community’s school premises and other portions on the disputed land
After today’s clash, Police Armored Personnel Carrier, APC, entered Abba and fired gunshots and teargas canisters at Mkpumbezi junction, alerting other Policemen attached to Adichie’s family for the funeral ceremonies of the late James Nwoye Adichie, Nigerian first professor of Statistics and father of a renowned author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
It was equally gathered that visitors coming to Abba from across the globe had difficulties finding their ways into Abba community, as Policemen, park agents and touts presently occupying Abba junction (along Enugu-Onitsha Expressway) prevented Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s family from erecting a banner announcing their late father’s wake keep, burial and funeral ceremonies, as well as directing visitors to the venue.
Though, available documents show that “warrant of possession” of the land in dispute is in favor of Abba community, the banner for the late Professor Adichie was eventually erected inside Abba community defeating it’s earlier purposes.
Minutes after the APC-carrying Policemen left Abba today, other Policemen in mufti arrived at the Mkpumbezi junction inside Abba community. One of them, who did not give his name, but claimed to be the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, at Abagana Police station, prevailed on youths to remove barricades placed at the Mkpumbezi junction following the shots fired by Policemen in the Armored Personnel Carrier, APC.
He explained that he will lead a team of Policemen that will effects the 24-hours patrol on Abba-Ukpo boundaries, in company of men of the vigilant group.
It would be recalled that in an open letter addressed to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mohammadu Buhari, Abba stakeholders, including the Traditional Ruler, Igwe Leonard Ezeh, President and Secretary-General of Abba Town Union, Engr. B. C. Anaekwe and Elias Udedibia, had alleged that “On 6th September 2019, Ukpo community demolished the Oye Abba market and perimeter fence of Community Secondary School, Abba owned by the State Government with bulldozers using many policemen including Mobile Police (MOPOL) and the just disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
”They claimed that the “demolitions, organized and sponsored by Prince Arthur Eze, were led by Mr Vincent Onyilagu and Mr Andrew Muodili (aka Andy) of Ukpo with personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, Anambra State command under the instructions of the Commissioner of Police, Mr John Abang, providing security cover for their nefarious activities.”