Our attention has been drawn to protests by Citizens of Umuleri Town (a.k.a. Umueri, a name they changed out of confusion about their origin and heritage thereby trying hard to deny their Umu-Iguedo origin, of which they are even the youngest), over Land use agreement the community had with various past Anambra State government administration for building the Anambra State International Cargo Airport; which they are now obviously having second thoughts about.
But it is worthy of note that:
1. When they made the agreement with past Anambra State Governments to site this Anambra State International Cargo Airport in Umuleri, no one in Aguleri including Gov. Obiano was part of that agreement. No one from Aguleri was ever consulted.
2. As far as we can gather, without holding forth for Obiano Administration:
- Anambra State International Cargo Airport project was a mere promise starting from Mbadinuju to Ngige and Peter Obi era but Governor Obiano made that promise a reality under his watch.
- Everything concerning Land acquisition for the Anambra State International Cargo Airport has been done before Obiano’s coming as Anambra State Governor.
- Gov. Chris Ngige’s Admin did the land acquisition for Parcel A and Parcel B.
- Gov. Peter Obi's admin. did the land acquisition for Parcel C and D.
- All the acquisition were done without payment of compensation.
- When Governor Obiano took over, he paid half compensation to Ivite Umueri for Parcel A and Parcel B in 2014.
- The Governor completed the compensation payment for Parcel A and B in 2019.
- He did that because he is a man that likes doing things the right way.
- The compensation that he paid was for Parcel A and Parcel B that was acquired by Ngige.
- Compensation for Parcel C and D have not been paid but as we hear, he is planning to also pay it.
- As far as we know, Gov. Obiano administration has not extended the ongoing Airport project work to the land that was not acquired by previous administration.
- As far as we know, they are still making use of Parcel A and B but before the completion of work, they will enter Parcel C
- Commissioner for Works has nothing to do with Land acquisition because that is the duty of Ministry of Land.
- Disturbing workers at the Airport project site constitutes a clog in the wheel of Obiano's administration sincere desire to attract development to Umuleri, Omambala axis and Anambra State at large.
3. So why drag Aguleri into all of these? When Umuleri people were heavily compensated by the Anambra state government of Gov. Obiano (when previous administrations did not), and how they chose to use their money, Aguleri was not consulted.
4. Now that Governor Obiano (from Aguleri) is making good on his promise to give Anambra an airport befitting it as the commercial power state of South East and Nigeria, Umuleri people, have seen this as an opportunity to blackmail the government for more money.
5. Before Gov. Obiano started the project they complained that he did not want to build the airport because he is from Aguleri and the airport is in Umuleri.
6. There is nothing an Aguleri person does that will ever please an Umuleri person. When Late Chief Mike Edozieh was Chairman of Anambra East LGA that was when they had their greatest agitations. When their own son was LGA Chairman Aguleri worked cooperatively with him.
7. Umuleri have again sought, like they always do, to connect everything to their relationship with Aguleri.
8. Their protest against the airport has taken them to destroy houses and property in Umungalagu Ivite Aguleri and areas close to Aguleri Junction, completely not related to the airport.
- This is reminiscent of their recent acts of defacement of a number of signpost stationed on Aguleri soil without provocation, and their ignoble acts at the Chancery at St. Peter’s Anglican church building in Ameze Aguleri;
- Acts that the Elders compelled the Youths to apply restraint and not respond in kind.
9. Again we wish to make the General public aware that:
- When the current government of Anambra State awarded many contracts to companies owned by Igwe Ben Emeka (Chiben) of Umuleri, one of the Major beneficiaries of contracts from the current administration (something that has not been extended to anyone from Aguleri), we in Aguleri were aware and did not protest.
- When Obiano Administration tarred all the major roads in Umuleri, we in Aguleri did not protest.
- When Obiano Administration made an Umuleri man the AG of Anambra State, we in Aguleri did not protest.
- When Obiano made an Umuleri woman the SPAD Legal, no one in Aguleri complained.
- Now their People is protesting yet Igwe Chiben, SPAD Legal or other Umuleri beneficiaries of the government have not been seen on the news media defending the government that has benefited all of them so much to the detriment of Aguleri.
Aguleri people are peace loving. We have recently finished our annual fasting and prayer and celebrated our Alommuo and Olili Onwa Isaa. We love peace and don’t ever go looking for trouble.
But it MUST be clear that we are not afraid of taking trouble head on when it comes looking for us.
We are doing all our things quietly and peacefully, and moving our Town forward at our own gradual pace, not minding the machinations of people around us. We want others to make progress too. We are not holding anyone back.
But let no one mistake our restraints in the face of glaring constant acts of provocation as sign of weakness.
By this message we again ask the entire peace loving Anambra State people to warn Ndi Umuleri. We do not want to respond to their provocative acts but will have no choice to do so at some point and time of our choosing, if they continue. If and when we do respond to their recurrent provocations, we do not want people who turned blind eyes to their provocations to say we over reacted.
We are also extending this warning to the government of Anambra State. We are no longer going to sit idly by while Ndi Umuleri encroach and destroy our property.
We know that they, as they usually do, believe they have amassed enough arms and are trying to provoke a fight with Aguleri and perhaps with a goal to disrupting the upcoming elections in Anambra State. But they must know that everyday is for the thief but one day is for the master. Aguleri wants peace in our area. Aguleri wants peaceful coexistence with our neighbors. We do not want war. But at some point provocative acts will stop to be tolerated. A word is enough for the wise.
Mr Rowland Udemezue Esq
President: Odimma Aguleri