The Abba community in the Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State on Monday alleged that an oil magnate was plotting to annex their market.
The community, where award-winning author Chimamanda Adichie comes from, claimed the businessman had moved to take over the market and give it to Ukpo, a neighbouring community in the Dunukofia Local Government Area of the state.
The President-General of Abba Town Union, Mr Bennett Anaekwe, said in a statement the businessman supervised the fencing of Oye Abba Market along the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway.
Abba and Ukpo communities have been involved in a long-running legal battle over a large parcel of land separating them.
Adichie had accused the police of siding with the businessman to work against her community.
She criticised the police for allegedly firing tear gas at women and children at the market.
The statement read in part, “Of recent beacons have been laid on some parts of the land where the Abba community natural spring is located and within the compound of the Anambra State-owned Community Secondary School, Abba.
“Not long ago, some persons who identified themselves as policemen from the Divisional Police Station, Ukpo, approached the principal of the school to take measurements of the school. The principal requested a written authority from their sender, which they promised to bring, but never did. Surprisingly, beacons were later found laid at different points within the school compound.
“At present, the site of the Oye Abba market is being fenced off by Ukpo community. Granted that the ownership of the said stretch of land is under litigation, no party to the dispute is to pre-empt the decisions of the court when the parties have been duly served with court processes and appearance entered.”
Anaekwe, who insisted the land belonged to his community, appealed to the state government and security agencies to intervene in the matter to avert crisis in the area.
Anaekwe added that the community had remained peaceful and law-abiding in the face of what he described as a “series of sponsored attacks and provocation by Ukpo community since June 19, 2019.”