Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, has intervened in the lingering land dispute between Obube and Umuowa communities in Owerri North Ngor Okpala Local Government Areas of Imo State and the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Regiment 211.
The governor, who was accompanied by the Commandant of 211 Regiment Group, Group Captain Phillip Elisha Bindul, and top government functionaries, visited the area to resolve the rift between the parties involved, and sued for peaceful resolution of the crisis.
He said the purpose of his visit to the communities is to identify the actual boundary of the land allocated to NAF Regiment 211; ascertain contentious issues involved, and seek the cooperation of the host communities in order to allow peace and development thrive in the area.
Ihedioha appealed to the community to ensure that the matter is withdrawn from the courts, and ordered the revocation of any land that was not in the original allocation and wrongly ceded to the NAF Regiment 211.
The governor further advised the host communities to appreciate the role and contribution of the NAF through the 211 Regiment in the area, stating that they are committed to ensuring security and development to the communities.
He assured the host communities that the state government would partner them to ensure that lands not used for the purpose by the Force will be used for agricultural purposes.
The governor disclosed that the state would provide 5,000 hectares of land in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for agriculture, and tasked the community to key into the project by making land available.
In his remarks, the Commandant of the 211 Regiment Group, Group Captain Phillip Elisha Bindul, lamented how litigations in the court have hindered work on the proposed site.
He said the NAF was allocated 100 hectares of land for the construction of the 211 Regiment, and as a law-abiding security agency, will not exceed the boundary allocated to it.
The commandant assured the governor of NAF commitment to maintaining a harmonious relationship with the host communities.
The Traditional Ruler of the area, Eze Jude Chidi Nwaogu, commended Ihedioha for his prompt intervention in the dispute, and assured him of their cooperation and support for a peaceful resolution, adding that the people are desirous of peace and development of their communities.
He blamed the past state Governor, Rochas Okorocha, for the crisis, noting the original allocation for the NAF was 100 hectares but was allegedly enlarged to 5,000 hectares by the past administration.
He called for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the host communities and the NAF to ensure the success of the project.
Present at the parley were a member representing Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Bede Eke; Secretary to the Government of Imo State (SSG), Hon. Uche Onyeagucha; Commissioners for Justice, Ndukwe Nnawuchi (SAN); Commissioner for Land, Bon Ukachukwu; Budget and Economic Planning, Dr. Reginald Ihebuzor; Agriculture, Emma Nworgu; Chairmen of both LGAs, Hon. Solomon Onwuegbulam and his counterpart, Hon. Charles Abara; community leaders, women and youths of both communities.