A Group of professionals of Umueri extraction of Anambra East of Anambra State under the auspices of Greater Umueri Liberation forum (GULF) has described recent Statement credited to the leaders of Aguleri World forum (AWF), from neighboring Aguleri Community chiding openly leaders of Umueri community, as smokescreen to unleash mayhem against their peaceful community.
Below are the details of the Press release made available to reporters by the Group:
Greater Umueri Liberation Forum (GULF)
RE: AGULERI CALLS ON UMULERI TO EMBRACE PEACE AND AVOID PROVOCATIONS
The attention of Greater Umueri Liberation Forum (GULF) has been drawn to a press statement by an unknown group that goes by the name 'Aguleri World Forum (AWF)' , who ostensibly from the statement, was speaking on behalf of themselves & good people of Aguleri Community, while trying to cajole, incite and lure the unsuspecting but peace loving Umueri community into unnecessary bloodbath.
Otherwise We wonder why a group that claimed to represent a community would deliberately go into character assassination against prominent Citizens of her neighboring community, for freely expressing their individual opinions, more so as it concerns Umueri & Igbo history. We wonder the sins committed by a Septuagenarian Elder Aniegboke Ndive who has been on receiving end of Aguleri campaign of calumny , over his age long effort to promote the undiluted & unadulterated Umueri oral history? When has it become an offence for one to propagate one’s history? On that note, GULF hereby warns that henceforth that these baseless calculated attack against the 79-year-old should cease with immediate effect
It is a negation of Umueri/Aguleri peace accord for anyone, who knows the value of peace to openly deride Chief Pius Okonkwo, the President General of Umueri General Assembly (UGA) for refusing to be a puppet that would be used to disorganize Umueri. For his boldness in expressing the plight of Umueri in the hands of their closest neighbors ever since Chief Willie Obiano became Governor, rather than dwelling on lip service on non existing peace, he has becomes a ‘ persona non grata’ to your people? It’s only a coward that would shy away from speaking out. It’s only a weakling that would accept to read a prepared speech to extol a Governor that have indirectly undermined his people. GULF hereby endorse the views that was courageously expressed by Chief Pius Okonkwo, the PG of Umueri General Assembly (UGA) as it represents the totality of our bitter & frightening experience in the hands of your people.
On the allegation of provocation by AWF, even though we are not here to chronicle the genesis of hostilities between our two communities, the evidences abound here and there that it’s your people- the Aguleri people that have always been the aggressors right from 1930 till 1990s. The evidences are there for all to see. The Peace loving Umueri community has always opted for justice rather than engaging in bloodbath that has never been beneficial to anybody.
It's your penchant for violence and aggression that led our people in 1933 to file a suit in provincial court located at Onitsha, in which the District Officer at Onitsha province Captain DPJ O'Connor (nicknamed O'connor Nwa Eze Oyibo) & trial judge after oral witnesses from within the two communities and neighboring villages ruled in favor of Umueri. Off course your people appealed in 1935 and got relief from Judge Harry Waddington (Suit No: 0/85/1935), who dismissed the case as ‘non-suit’ because according to him the oral evidences are not sufficient enough to declare east bank of Omambala an exclusive Umueri land.
There was relative peace from 1935-1949. Your quest to expand your land - stretching from your boundary with Igala to Omambala to escape flood and other natural phenomenon at the side of Omambala, led to another wave of migration in 1950s. The resultant effect was orgy of violence of which our elders resisted by instituting a case of intrusion into our land at Umuiguedo Native Court (Suit No: 0/48/1950). This case was subsequently transferred to Onitsha High Court, then called Onitsha Supreme court. At Onitsha Supreme Court 1951, Privy Council 1955, Onitsha High Court 1965 till 1982/84 Umueri has always been the one in search of justice even when it is delayed for decades. The reasons we enumerated all these sequences of crisis in our area is to openly show the world who has been the aggressors.
We have all documented facts on how your people have over-nightly ‘Agulerized’ Otuocha and other parts of Umueri within the shortest time that your son became Governor. For record purposes, we want you to dispute these very facts that suggests clearly a tactical and carefully planned annexation plots:
Change of Signposts: All Signpost bearing Otuocha on Aguleri occupied part of Otuocha now bear ‘Aguleri”, including the signposts opposite Local Government secretariat, Otuocha. This is against the ruling of Supreme court Judgement.
ASUBEEB Otuocha has been changed to ASUBEB Aguleri. All official letters of promotion in Anambra East local Education Authority now bears Aguleri.
Attempt to Christen Anambra state Cargo Airport project that was sited in Ivite Umueri by Ex Governor Peter Obi to Aguleri Cargo Airport, where as the proposed site for the Airport project has no proximity with Aguleri . This plot was highly condemned & resisted not only by Umueri but all people of good will.
Aguakor land of Umueri was annexed by your people under the guise of government acquisition and compensation that would hitherto be paid to only the real owners (Umueri People) , were paid not only to our people but to your people of Aguleri, in a land that Umueri have existing judicial ruling in her favor.
On the fallacious story of Aguleri, as nexus of Igbo origin, we wish to admit that we have seen this desperate attempt of using state resources to perpetuate falsehood that would not stand the test of time, including your ill-advised overnight attempt to convert a traditional shrine called "Obuga" into a non-existing "Obugad" , when there are still other existing "Obuga" in Umueri and other towns in Omambala valley. On that note, GULF wishes to state categorically clear that while it’s true that there are villages in Aguleri (originally belonged to Umueri) that shares ancestry with Umueri, the rest are recent migrants that settled on a portion of Umueri farm land known as ‘AGU-ERI” (Eri farmland).
We also wish to enlighten the general public that ancient umueri town remains the cradle of Igbo migration and covers the entire today’s community of both Aguleri and Umueri. The People of ancient Umueri occupied vast area that stretched from bank of Omambala River, from Ovianwagbo to Oyi River in the south covering villages that are in the two communities. Time will not permit us to dwell on this topic as we would appreciate an academic debate that would be devoid of threats , lies and name calling. Till then, we would continue to encourage our scholars and historians to continue to expose the fallacies in your story.
However, to set the record straight, the people that constitute the present Aguleri are made up of migrants from different places (notably Odeke, Ida, Ogurugu, etc) and the Okpu people (Originally of Umueri community) who is widely respected & regarded as aborigine in Aguleri history. The Okpu Village traced their lineage to Ugume-ana Village of Ikenga Umueri. The Oral tradition of Umueri traces the genealogy to Dabawor, one of the Sons of Eri whose daughter was Okpu, the founder of the most elderly village in Aguleri till today. In order to buttress the relationship between the Okpu & Umueri, the Village has kept the ritual practice of paying tribute to a shrine in Ugume Umueri. And they have never failed to pay the homage despite recent stain in the relationship Occasioned by land dispute, litigation and war. During Sacrifices, their elders received the daughterly share (an Omambala culture that’s still in existence) of hip of sacrificed animal.
The series of war known in Umueri oral tradition as ‘Ogu Onoja Nwa Oboli’ saw the war ended with treaty dully signed by the Igbos & the Igala. The Umungalagu of present Aguleri was settled in their present place by the people of Ugume Umueri after taking Oath of obedience before their hosts; the Okpus then of Umueri (now in Aguleri) and Ugume allocated some portion of land to Isiokwe after Oath taking. Some others were settled at Umunkiti Aguleri. The areas where these immigrants were settled was known as Agu-Eri- (Eri farm settlement). These immigrants assimilated with each other to become known as Aguleri. While the Onogu people are scattered amongst the Igbariam, Nteje, Nsugbe and other coastal Igbo towns. In 1974, the then traditional Ruler of Aguleri, Igwe Raphael Akwuba Idigo admitted openly in a publication that Aguleri people are from Igala ( See’The History of Aguleri’ by MCM Idigo, Page 5 Published in 1955) ), that they migrated to Omambala about four hundred years ago. According to him they met Igbo Speaking people and by mixing with them and inter-marriage, the immigrants adopted the language. Even with this open confession, it’s worrisome to see some Aguleri declaring that they are the Igbo aborigine.
We therefore see this AWF press release as a mere 'window dressing' script to launch another violence against peace loving Umueri. Hence our resort to divulge the hidden contents for the public to know whom to hold responsible should there be any break down of law and order in our land.
Long Live Umueri! Long Live the Cradle of Igbo Race!
Comrade Onyebuchi ‘Biafra’ Diboh
For & On behalf of GULF Umueri