Ebonyi State Govt Resolves Land Dispute In Mgbo Community

By Celestine Okeh, Abakaliki

The Senior Special Assistant to Governor David Umahi on Legal Services and conflict resolution, Barr Emeka Nwode has put to rest, an aged-long land dispute between the families of Mr Innocent Otubo of Umuezeaka Community and Mr John Onwe Eze of Amechi Community both in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state. 

Speaking during a final resolution meeting held on Tuesday, at the conference Hall, ministry of Internal security, border peace and conflict resolution, old Government House, Abakaliki, Barr Emeka Nwode emphasized that peace remains the greatest asset one can get in life and urged the two families to see the resolution as a way of reuniting the two families and the two Communities. He enjoined them to abide by the resolution as it is an act of God.

Laying the background for the resolution, Barr Emeka Nwode revealed that, "On the 26th August 2021, Ebonyi State Government received a petition from Innocent Otubo of Onyaenyi Village in Umuezeaka Ngbo Ohaukwu Local Government Area titled “Request for Government intervention to avoid communal crisis”. The petition accused John Onwe Eze, Patience Ubocho Eze, Innocent Elebe Ajim and Egede Hyacinth all from Umuagara Ameachi Ezzangbo of trespassing and encroachment into their family compound/land where they have lived for more than 70 years ago".

 He stated further that, "Sequel to the petition, the two coordinators of Ohaukwu North and Ngbo East Development Centers, the leadership of Umuezeaka and Amaechi Communities, petitioner and the respondents were invited for a mediation on the 8th September, 2021 and inspection of the disputed Area were carried out on the 22nd and 26th November 2021".

Summrizing their claims, the SSA avered that Mr Innocent Otubo made the following claims;

"That his late father lived on the land now in dispute with his own parents, married and born children without any trespass or harassment until 2014 when Egede Hyacinth pushed John Onwe Eze to erect a house in the land.

 "That John Onwe first erected structure in 2014 which himself (Otubo Innocent) drove him away in 2019 and only for John Onwe Eze to come and destroyed his crops and also arrested him with police in 2020.

"That late Chief Ogbaekirigwe of Ezzangbo settled a long standing land dispute between Umuezeaka and Amaechi Communities and provided formidable boundary with beacons in the 70s.

 "Others who supported his claims are; Joe Nwede and Regent Bartholomew Ekpe. The both claim that the land belong to Otubo family".

On his part, Mr John Onwe Eze made the following claims;

"That the area in dispute belonged to his father and forefathers.

"That three persons from his family member have lived, died and was buried on the same land.


"That it was when he returned to the village from Awka where he was residing that he came to build on the land as the land belongs to his father.


"Others who made submission in support of John Igwe Eze includes Prince Elebe (regent of Amaechi) who noted that he advised the family to proceed to court instead of destroying the house built by the family of Otubo and Egede Hyacinth who also attested to the fact that the Area in dispute is owned by the forefathers of John Onwe Eze".

Barr Emeka Nwode noted that, traditional means of settlement was adopted in resolving the land dispute.

According to Barr Emeka Nwode, "in view of the claims and counter claims of the parties and in consideration of culture and traditions of the people, visa-vis the request of the parties to use traditional means of settlement, Government approved for oath taking to be conducted on the land".

 He explained that the

The condition of the oath administration stipulates that "the oath should be administered on the party who cultivated cassava and erected house on the disputed land.


"That if the representative of the family that took oath on the ownership of the land survives within one year, the land will be ceded to the family and vice-versa if he died within one year.                                    


"That the oath should last for a period of one year commencing from the 22nd November 2021 to 22nd November 2022


"That none of the parties should enter the disputed land while the oath lasts".


"Based on the foregoing, it was unanimously agreed that Innocent Otubo who has house and cassava farm on the land should take the oath. The oath was administered on Innocent Otubo as the head of his family on the 22nd November 2021 in the presence of the SSA to the Governor on Legal Service and Conflict Resolution Barr. Emeka Nwode, Coordinator of Ohaukwu North Development Center Hon. Ejike Agbo and his counterpart of Ngbo East, Hon. Onwe Joseph Oge, Regent of Amaechi Community Chief Elebe Emmanuel and Regent of Umezaka Community, Chief Ekpe Bartholomew Nwangbo and some representatives of Umuezeka and Amaechi Communities including the town Union Presidents of both Communities".

He said that flowing the above assertions and stipulated conditions of the oath taking, Government resolved as follows:


"That the family of Innocent Otubo should continue to exercise right of ownership of the land as the land thereby ceded to the family.

"That hence forth; Mr. Onwe Joseph and his supporters should desist from laying claim, entering or trespassing on the Area of the land as shown by Innocent Otubo during inspection of the disputed area".

 In their votes of thanks, the regent of Umuezeaka, Bartholomew Ekpe and Chief Clement Ituma of Amechi Communities accepted the resolution and pledged to abide by the verdict.

They commended the state Governor, Engr Chief David Nweze Umahi through the Senior Special Assistant, Barr Emeka Nwode for the wisdom adopted in resolving the land dispute.



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