Another communal clash looms in Rivers State

The Rivers State Government can avert another round of bloodbath if I intervenes in the protracted land feud among neighboring communities in Obio-Akpor Local Government area. The imminent unrest follows a prolonged land ownership disagreement between Eli-Kpokwu-Odu community and Eli- Weligbe community.

The strectch of 500,000 acres of land is sandwiched between Rumuosi, Rumuekini and Rumuodamanya clans, all in same local government. Both communities have been at drawn daggers over ownership of the parcel of land. No life injury or physical harm have so far happened in the 15 years land tussle. This newspaper believes the land tussle may soon erupt into communal clash as a tractor belonging to an indigene of Eli-Kpokwu-Odu was burnt down on the land by youths from Eli- Weligbe community.

The Nation newspaper reports that the confusion has led to serious racketeering on the land by members of the both communities. Each party is busy selling out the portion of the land especially the area close to their community, despite subsisting court order. The immediate past chairman of Eli-Kpokwu-Odu Community Development Committee (CDC), Kelvin Samuel, in a telephone interview with The Nation claimed that his community is the rightful owners of the land. He said his community had at a time mortgaged a portion of the land to the Rumuagholu for a sum which according to him has long been repaid to them.

Samuel noted that his community had never had any form of dispute on the property until 2002 their contender showed up with a suit against my community, the matter has since then lingered within and out of court. According to him, the judgment delivered by 8-man Peace and Arbitration Committee jointly set up by the warring communities after several years of being in court were rejected by Rumuagholu people, who took the matter back to court.

He alleged that the court placed a ban on the land pending the determination of the case, but he noted that despite the ban, their rival community have continued to sell portions of the land. He claimed that over 4000 acres of the land have been sold by their co-contender, while his Eli-Kpokwu-Odu people have complied with the order 100 per cent.

The CDC chairman of Rumuagholu community, Omunakwe Amadi, accused the Eli-Kpokwu-Odu people of trespassing and selling portions of the land despite a subsisting court order on the property, he called for the intervention of the state authorities. Samuel said: “The land in dispute is rightly owned by Eli-kpokwu-Odu community in Rumukpokwu clan. We have been farming on that land before the trouble started 15 years ago. “It all started when in 2002 Rumuagholu filed a suit against us over the parcel of land, claiming that we are encroaching over their land. Before then my community had not had any form of problem with Rumuagholu regarding the portion of land, but they had with Read more….