Edwin Obigwe, asst secretary, Umuleri General Asembly, UGA, 4th from left, in a group photograph with Umuleri leaders and elders after addressing the press on need for peaceful coexistence between Umuleri and Aguleri, July 4, 2017.
In the aftermath of the quit notice issued to Igbos in the Northern parts of the country, the Umuleri Community in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State has extended an olive branch to their neighbour, Aguleri, to pave the way for the return of their kit and kin from the troubled North after the expiration of the quit notice.
It will be recalled that a group called Arewa Youth Forum had caused a stir when they issued a three-month ultimatum to Igbos living in the North to leave or have their property confiscated.
But the Umuleri Community has now extended an olive branch to their closest neighbours, Aguleri, against whom they had been in conflict with a view to enabling their kit and kin expected to return from the North a comfortable landing.
Speaking at a press conference held at Awka recently, the President General of Umuleri General Assembly (UGA), who was represented by Edwin Obigwe, the Assistant Secretary of UGA, said the damage done during their last imbroglio when some indigenes of Aguleri invaded their boundary town and destroyed houses and fences, while leaving their people wounded, still left an ugly scar.
They therefore appealed to the Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, who hails from Aguleri, to use his position as the Chief Security officer of the state and Aguleri indigene, to quench the feud which dated back to the pre-Independence era.
Speaking to Fides, Edwin Obigwe expressed the need for everlasting peace between the communities.
His words, 'This message is for the Igbo race, Anambrarians and particularly, Governor Willie Obiano, who has the wherewithal to calm any situation in the state. He knows exactly what is happening. We call on him when anything happens.
'We are very close to him. We want him to look inwardly and remove the evil hands of the miscreants who are planning to make Umuleri and Aguleri boil again. We are peace loving people and would not want anything to truncate the peace within the Igbo race anymore.
'Again, Chief Obiano is contesting for the guber election and we in Umuleri want him to retain his seat. We are in support of him and the Igwe of Umuleri, Igwe Ben Emeka, is fully behind him in his gubernatorial bid.'
For his part, the president-general, Umuleri National Youth Forum, Ambassador, Chibuzor Ekwenye, also called for peace, pointing out that they did not want to fight anymore.
'We want our communities to be peaceful. The airport that Anambra is celebrating today is in Umuleri. The Refinery is in Umuleri. So, nobody would wish that there is a problem there or else the investors that are coming will run away. We don't want to scare the investors. So, we want a very peaceful atmosphere and that is what we are suing for, totally. I know that after this press conference, the governor will intervene like he always has,' Ekwenye stated.
Also present at the press briefing were the immediate past president general of UGA, the elders of Umuleri and the chairman of Ikenga.