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By NBF News
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ABAKALIKI- UMUODE family of Imeoha village, Nkalagu, in Ishielu local government area of Ebonyi State yesterday called on the state government to intervene in the on-going land dispute in the area to avert crisis that might erupt in the near future.

The family urged the government not to hesitate in finding lasting solution to the lingering dispute, stressing that it was imperative for government to nip such development in the bud.

Spokesman of the family, Mr. Innocent Ali, stated that the land dispute started in July 2003 when the traditional ruler of the area, HRM Eze Mathias Nnaji, led a delegation to the land for the commencement of work on a Comprehensive City College, Campus II, Nkalagu, and construction of Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA, office which had been taken over by Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, in the state.

Ali accused the traditional ruler of collecting compensation from group of persons interested in the land without due consultation with any member of the family.

According to him, the major challenge currently facing the family is the traditional ruler's encroachment into the family land and collection of compensation from varied interest groups without consultation with the Umuode family who are the rightful owners of the land since 1931.

Reacting to the allegation, His Royal Highness, Eze Mathias Nnaji, denied encroaching into  Umuode family's land.

He said: 'The accusation levelled against me, I don't know. I have not encroached into anybody's land; I have never done it before and I'm not doing it now.

'I don't have a heap of sand on that land. I have never farmed on that land. All the crops on that land belong to them. The building there belongs to the judiciary. Judiciary claims ownership of the land while Umuode claims ownership of the land.'

Chairman, Ishielu local government area of Ebonyi State, Obinna Nwachukwu, called on the affected family to handle the issue of land with much caution and understanding, adding that what often instigated crisis had to do with the inordinate affection people attached to land in the country.

He enjoined the family to make out time and come to his office for dialogue so that issues surrounding the land could be resolved amicably.

'My advice is that they should relax, now that it has come to my knowledge. I will look into it and find out the true position of things. Let them come so that we discuss and find lasting solution to the problem,' he noted.