By Maureen Ikpeama, Vivian Onwuka
OFFICIALS of Enugu and Anambra States have held a bilateral meeting to deliberate on the lingering boundary dispute between the people of Awba-Ofemili, Awka North Local Government in Anambra State and Ibite-Olo community, Ezeagu Local Government Area in Enugu State; calling for peaceful coexistence in the areas.
In a ten-point communique presented at the end of the meeting presided over by the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Nkem Okeke and his Enugu State counterpart, Barrister Cecilia Ezeilo, the parties extended the life of the Security and Peace Committee that was earlier constituted by the two communities to supervise the planting and harvesting of crops in the disputed area within the last farming season for another farming season with effect from February, 2018.
It further provides that nobody from the two communities should collect money from any farmer for farming in the area within the said period.
The communique which was signed by the two deputy governors and made available to National Light said that nobody has the right to sell land within the same period and there should be no further activity by new investors in the area for the period.
It also stated that people from communities other than Awba Ofemili and Ibite-Olo should not be permitted to farm in the area within the period. It disclosed that two Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) from Awka North and Ezeagu Local Government Area should be part of the security and peace committee.
Contained in the communique also is that the two local government chairmen (Awka North and Ezeagu Local Governments), should be a part of the security and peace committee. It stated that the leaders of the security and peace committee should report to the two deputy governors when a matter they cannot conveniently handle comes up, to forestall escalation.
The two states agreed that members of the security and peace committee should ensure that no farmer comes into the area with guns and other war implements, but with farm tools. The communique which was read by the secretary, Enugu State Boundary Committee, stated that for there to be any arrest in the area, it has to be authorised by the two deputy governors.