BY SUNNY DAVID
Barely one year after the inauguration of the 7th Anambra State House of Assembly, the Chairman, House Committee on Public Petition and Conflict Resolution, Honourable Emeka Aforka, said he has received not less than 120 petitions of all categories from members of the public.
Hon. Aforka, who briefed journalists, shortly after hearing petition from the people of Pronto and Akpo village of Ukpo Community in Dunukofia local government area of the state, explained that out of the 120 petitions, some are considered fit to deliberate on and others considered not fit.
“Like some of the petitions that are already in court or criminal in nature or the ones we consider as frivolous or those that do meet the standard or purely on flimsy reasons cannot be considered for deliberation.”
The Lawmaker said Anambra State House of Assembly is an institution saddled with the responsibility of carrying out oversight functions and resolving petitions and crisis arising from communities, organised private sector and maladministration or mismanagement of public institutions, ministries and parastatals.
Hon. Aforka boasted that the committee under his watch would always live up to its responsibility by handling all petitions with justice, equity and without fear or favour.
Addressing the people at the committee’s room, the chairman, who is also the Deputy Majority Leader of the House and member representing Orumba North Constituency, reassured them that the committee’s duty was to resolve conflicts and not to abet justice.
He admonished the rival parties to give truthful evidence that could help in resolving the dispute between the two families amicably.
According to Hon. Aforka, the Akpo family had petitioned the Chairman Anambra State Physical Border over an enchroachment on an access road linking their families.
The petitioner, Mr Charles Nwaokpatu, was able to convince the Chairman of the Physical Planning Board, Barrister Chike Maduekwe, who mobilized his team to the disputed area where they marked ‘stop work’ order on the fence being built by one Chief J.I. Ifeacho who claims ownership of the disputed access road.
This action of the Physical Planning Board prompted the J. I Ifeacho family to petition the Anambra State House of Assembly. It was against this backdrop that the Committee invited both parties for amicable resolution of the dispute.
Chief J.I. Ifeacho in his submission claimed that his fore fathers have lived in the disputed area for over 150 years before the coming of Nwaokpatu to the area some forty years ago.
He claimed that the place is not an access road but a village pathway usually used in the village to visit their brother’s and neigbours.
But the Nwaokpatu family represented by Charles Nwaokpatu, told the Committee that the area in question is an access road that connects over six families in Umunsim -lruogeli kindred, Akpugo Village Ukpo.
He alleged that it was the only motorable road linking them but suddenly Chief Ifeacho started enchroachment on the road to the extent that he built a fence thereby shutting them out from using the access road completely.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Anambra State Physical Planning Board, Barr. Chike Maduekwe, said he placed the ‘stop work’ order because the law that established them gave them to do so in a place where dispute arisen from such a place is made to override public interest.
Other Committee members include, Hon. Laurence Ezodu representing Dunukofia, Hon. Udeze representing Ogbaru one, Hon. Arthur Ifeanyi Idemili North, Hon Douglas Egbuna of Onitsha two and Hon Edward Ibuzor of Onitsha one, thanked them for their maturity and promised that the matter would be resolved amicably in the interest of all.