Lawrence Nwimo, Awka
Anambra State Government has made known its intentions to restore peace in Isuaniocha, a community in Awka North Local Government Area that has been in crises for more than eight years.
The Chief of Staff to the Government, Mr Ernest Ezeajuyi, stated this when over one thousand residents of Isuaniocha carried a peaceful protest to the Government over some issues bringing disunity and insecurity in the town.
Youths, aged men and women including the oldest man in the community, carried placards with various inscriptions as they marched to the gate of the Anambra State Government House, chanting songs of solidarity while demanding that the Governor Chukwuma Soludo to give them immediate attention by resolving their grievances.
The placards read, “Governor Soludo please give us peace in Isuaniocha;” “Isuaniocha needs peace not war;” “Chikodi Anara should steer clear from Isuaniocha for Peace to return;” “Chikodi Anara and his cohorts like Cosmas Okonkwor, Onyemazi Ngini, Onuora Okoye and others have war machine terrorising Isuaniocha Community;” among other write ups.
Addressing the people, the Chief of Staff who was accompanied by the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr Tony Nwabunwanne, said the administration of Professor Soludo will not relent in ensuring that there is peace in Isuaniocha and by extension, every Community in the state.
Ezeajuyi commended the people for having the courage to speak with one voice.
He told them that the Government would have a roundtable discussion with representatives of the eight villages of the Community including their acting President General, to understand the issues ravaging the town.
According to him, the present administration had recovered several lands belonging to Secondary Schools across the state and so will immediately look into that of Isuaniocha Secondary School land which is one of the contending issues causing problem in the area.
On the issue of certificate of recognition issued to Chief Mkpuora Ngini as the traditional ruler of the community, Mr Ezeajuyi said Governor Soludo will look into the demands of the people and give them feedback as soon as possible.
“We have heard your concerns and also read it on your placards, we heard all what you said, and to summarise is two major things, the land that people have taken in the secondary School and the issue of Igweship, so Mr Governor will look into your two main critical cases and come back to you,” the Chief of Staff stated.
Earlier, the leader of the Protesters and Acting President General of Isuaniocha, Mr Friedrik Egwunwa, regretted that the government failed to keep their promise that a committee would be set up to look into the matter during the last protest by the people, the reason he said prompted them to block the entrance gate of the government house so that proper attention will be giving to the disappointed residents.
Mr Egwunwa said Isuaniocha Community had a laid down procedure of chosing who their traditional ruler will be and never a time was it done through a kangaroo election.
According to him, the people totally reject the imposition of a Traditional ruler on them by few individuals who he alleged were responsible for the sale of the school land and other atrocious acts in the town.
In an interview, the Commissioner of police , Anambra State, Mr Aderemi Adeoye, said individuals and communities are guaranteed freedom of speech and association but that such grievances must be aired in a peaceful manner while dialogue and negotiation should be the way to go.
He noted that the issues of Igweship and land matters were matters that could be resolved using dialogue mechanism without anyone resorting to violence.