The battle of Otuocha: Aguleri and Umuleri community position for war

Filed under: National Issues |

The long standing peace arrangement that united the people of Aguleri and Umuleri during Obasanjo’s administration has collapsed and once again, both communities are gearing up for another war. War which the people of Umuleri community has stated will be more fierce than anything ever experience in history if the government don’t wade in.

For the sake of many who were not born then, let me briefly re-present the history of Aguleri and Umuleri, for a proper linkage to the present scenario:

The case of Aguleri and Umuleri was first heard in 1933 when leaders of Umuleri community sued Aguleri over the land but lost. Then the court held that Umuleri has nothing left to justify the court giving them declaration of the title. In 1935, the people of Aguleri community sensing the lost of case, sued Umuleri but also lost on the grounds that they too could not establish exclusive ownership of the land.

In 1964, the Umuleri community sued the Anambra County Council to name Otuocha the headquarter from “Otuocha Aguleri” to Otuocha, and this became the reason for crisis in 1964 in which so many lives were lost and properties destroyed. The legal battle between both community was interupted by the Civil War. However, immediately after the civil war, the East Central State Government changed the name to Otuocha since it still remains part of Aguleri.

In 1975, the Umuleri community appealed to supreme court stating that neither community should have exclusivity over Otuocha, but the lead Judge Obaseki remained unanimous in his judgement, that Otuocha was a vacant piece of land but it was the people of Aguleri who first came into the land and has lived for at least 100 years before the people of Umuleri infiltrated.

In 1995, the people of Umuleri invaded Aguleri and started killing, maiming and destroying properties belonging to Aguleri. The crisis was brought to an end by the Obasanjo administration, when he went to the effected communities and invited leaders of the three(3) community(Umuoba Anam inclusive) to the state house for a meeting.
It was during this time that an agreement was reached, to settle out of court. A peace committee was formed to see to an amicable settlement. It was however gathered that in 2010 the people of Umuleri pulled out of the committee and today, the war that started many years ago is receiving a sound of awakening.

History has it that the battle was so fierce that those living in both community go to bed with axe and cutlass in their hands, in case of sudden attack. Women and children were sent to sleep/hide in guarded enclaves, people don’t light-up their houses to avoid being noticed, families were forced to self-declare indefinite curfew, nobody knows when their opponent will attack etc. Is this the sort of life these people want to go into again?

The question in the mind of many till date is, which of the community first settled in the land, and which of them has superior claim over the territory called Otuocha?

Comments

comments

  • Ndive solomon chukwujioke

    Dear jeff,before u post a sensitive issue like this try 2make a better research.the justice obaseki pronouncement does name aguleri as the first occupant rather umueri based on oldest building,deities et.c. Again,umueri didnt invade aguleri rather the aguleri invaded umueri on sept with the help of their people across aka aguleri otu. The issue of umueri/aguleri will be genuinely settled only when the agulerians comes up with the truth

  • Jeff Okoroafor

    Thank you Ndive for your comment.

    If you go through the article once again, you wil notice that what i said about Judge Obaseki’s pronouncement is the same thing you repeated. The said land according to Obaseki was vacant and was first occupied by the people of Aguleri, not Umuleri.

    Also as regards who first invaded who, history has it that after the Supreme Court’s judgement in 1984, that there was a relative peace until in September of 1995 when the people of Umuleri invaded and started killing the people of Aguleri.

    This is a very delicate issue and we are careful so as to not misinterprete history. We can only present it better if emotion is detached.

  • Ndive solomon chukwujioke

    Dear Jeff(am sorry for the typing error”does name aguleri” obaseki does not mentioned aguleri rather umueri,ask justice R.A Chinwuba),i had with me the original copies of the said judgement led by justice Ayo Irikefe.justice obaseki read on behalf of the five man jury that otuocha is an empty land,though that umueri first inhabit the land before aguleri entered.i want to bring your notice on the 95 crises,the war started at obinetiti umueri at night during Hon Iwoba mother’s burial(mrs mkpulunma iwoba).umueri high school were destroy & several building at obinetiti belonging to some umueri elites was burnt.the war was mastermined by the then local govt boss,mike Edozie,a native of aguleri.let me again recall your mind that on thursday,a day before the war several boat belong to the mmanyi aguleri people were seen at otuocha with large crowd of people.in the same day,in the evening,the were marching & shouting a war song at company(rice mills area).to crown it all,Mr paul Iwoba,a native of aguleri disclosed to many people that aguleri will attack umueri.as i earlier said,Idigo family should come out with a truth because without the treacheousness & gready of Chief R.A.Idigo all this will not have happened.I see you as a youth,an aguleri indegene but my advice is this;we are brothers(checked from Okpu lineage to umunba kindred of aguleri) lets said the truth to save our future

    • Jeff Okoroafor

      Thanks again Ndive for your comments.

      Permit me to clear the air here, I am not from Anambra State let alone being a native of Aguleri like you said, being neutral allows me the opportunity to speak without sentiment or emotion. My write-up is based on research and my personal wit.

      I have read your comment, made some consultations and more research on the issue, the response and findings still tallies with my stand. However, like the commenter Mr Patrick rightly stated, it could be possible that there is something we are not seeing.

      You said you have the original copies of the controversial judgement, if you can, please forward it to me so i can take a look and see how we can set the record straight. People need to know the truth, many are arguing and fighting without knowing the true story.

      You can have it forward to me at [email protected]

    • onuorah orekwu

      mr solo it looks like you have more prov
      e on this matter please i want you to enliten on it how will i get in touch with you please

  • Patrick

    I know a topic of this nature wil generate series of debate. Any war-topic related article is always a sensitive one.

    I am a Nigerian but based in a foreign nation, as a research student, after going through Mr Jeff’s article and the comments that followed, i had to research about the said issue. My findings however validate the writers opinions and statements.

    However, haven’t said that, it is possible that its not all i’s that are dotted and all t’s crossed. The people that hold the truth to this issue are the ones that can really say which is which.

  • Poor Journalism! Why turning things off side down.Obaseki Judgement stated that otuocha was vacant piece of land but it was People of Umueri who first filtered into the said land and has stayed there for over 100 years before Aguleri. Are u writing this junk journalism to please your pay master. In 1995, it was glaring to the general public that Aguleri invaded Umueri. Please stop this poor but mischievious journalism.

  • Firstly, there is no pay-masters here, and secondly the ruling of Justice Obaseki was clear and still remains the same. However, if you have a prove of a reverse ruling, please send it to [email protected] for verification in order to point the public to a right direction.

  • sonwa

    Both Patrick and Jeff are Faceless liers.

  • Ike Donald

    THE AGULERI LIES AGAINST UMUERI CONTINUES. PLEASE STOP DECEIVING THE WORLD AND YOURSELVES EVEN YOUR UNBORN CHILDREN. SAY THE TRUTH FOR ONCE FOR GOD’S SAKE, REMEMBER THE LORD IS WATCHING ALL YOUR EVIL ACTIVITIES. JUDGEMENT IS COMING SOON

  • Otuocha Aguleri or Amaeze Aguleri so stop call otuocha.

  • otuocha Aguleri before my father was born in 1914.

  • The writer is 100% right!Because I could remember how that war started in 1995.In 1933,it was called”Otuocha Aguleri”Before you comment nonsense,ask yourself;who was the first people to settle in that territory?

  • Friday Shuur

    Fellow Nigerians, I was enjoying the conversation between Dive and Jeff. Until aggressiveness was introduce by un-Nigerian elements. Remember we must learn to love one another as brothers or we’ll die together as fools.

  • IFEANYI SEBAZTIN

    Jeff or any thing they calls you never try to post what you dont know about on line because you do not know the truth about the Umueri/ Aguleri land disput and too the old man that told you the storry told a lie, if you dont know let me tell you and at once correct you of this nonsense oyu wrote, Aguleri who remamed “AGUAKO” NWARURU did that because they wants to have the kand but they can not, and also this big town UMUERI not umuleri has been there for than 4 cencury before Aguleri, so let me leave this in your mind that AGUAKO is owned by Umueri not Aguleri. If you want more deatail about the land call me on08130950652 and I will clearify your mind anfd you will get to know and publish the truth not what you dont know all about

  • Abdullahi Aliyu Ahmad

    Land dispute by thesame tribe,we thank God not having that in my place. But i have keen interest in knowing more about that dispute because i have been in Awka since 80s till 2000.

  • Robert

    I think am enjoying both this report and its accompanying pro and counter stances. The details and specifics that account is characterized is reveal truths and indept research work.I sincerely commend the writer. But for those who resort to use of insulting words to communicate their objections to issues like this, you should rather make your contribution without cursing anyone.

  • Raphael Ekwunife

    This is a very sensitive issue. War reports and analyses can be very provoking and inciting,even when d issue is truthfully noted. I ve read these reports with interest and some complexity. Research isnt easy. I still advise contributors 2do so politely and constructively. Only by so doing can we extract d truth 4lasting peace&resolution .

  • frea oba

    dear mama nyash

  • okene

    i am from Otuocha Aguleri