By Vincent Ujumadu
Awka—THERE were fears yesterday that the protracted boundary dispute between Umuenwelum Anam and Nzam community in Anambra West local government area of Anambra State could lead to massive disenfranchisement of voters and likelihood of bloodshed in the area if proactive measures were not immediately taken.
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The boundary dispute had led to loss of lives and wanton destruction of property in the area and with the approach of the general elections, the issue had become a major source of concern as youths on both sides of the conflict have continued to stage guerilla attacks despite efforts to resolve it.
Mr. Nnamdi Anekwe-Chive, a security expert and politician, who hails from the area, told newsmen in Awka yesterday that the one month hostilities had done severe damage to the socio-economic wellbeing of the people in the area, adding that if not properly handled, could adversely affect the forthcoming general election as many voters from the area might be afraid to come out to vote, thereby disenfranchising them.
Anekwe-Chive, who is the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the Anambra West constituency for the Anambra State House of Assembly election, also said that the boundary dispute was adversely affecting political campaign in the area and called for urgent deployment of security operatives to checkmate further breaches of peace in the constituency.
He said: “This crisis could lead to the disenfranchisement of voters who live across the boundaries of the two communities. It is my humble request that governments, both at state and federal levels, should do something urgently to bring about a permanent resolution of the boundary dispute.
“There is need for a joint team of the armed forces to patrol Umuenwelum-Nzam road, Mmiata-Innoma-Nzam road and the adjoining farm camps, where, we believe, some misguided persons have the capacity to unleash mayhem on unsuspecting constituents and strangers on daily basis.
“I feel terribly pained that a land dispute that could be amicably resolved would be the basis of this wanton destruction of lives and property that is exacerbating by the day.
“Umuenwelum and Nzam communities are long time friendly neighbours and allowing this boundary tussle to become a subject of continued armed conflict that causes untold economic hardship and radicalization of youths in the area, is not in the best interest of the people.”