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Enugu Communities Battle Govt over Land Grabbing
David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
The Obinagu and Eziachi communities of Ugwuoba in Oji River Local Governmant Area of Enugu State have appealed to Enugu State Governor, Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to use his good offices to prevent a state agency from taking their lands.
The communities, which share common boundary with Amansea, Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State, in a press conference in Awka said that they were on the verge of being removed from their ancestral land by the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation (ESHDC).
The elders of the Obinagu village that comprised of many aged persons had first gathered at their village square to curse anyone trying to forcefully take their land, before proceeding to address journalists in Awka.
Ninety Six years old Mr. Boniface Igweze, who spoke on behalf of his people, cried bitterly over plans of the ESHDC to forcefully dispose the community of 88.9 hectares of ancestral land.
Igweze said: “We have restrained our youths from engaging in violence over the ownership of the land because we believe in lawful pursuits and the governor’s understanding and intervention for peaceful resolution.
“We, therefore, appeal to Governor Ugwuanyi to call the ESHDC’s Managing Director, Mr. Chimerie Agu, and all his cohorts to order as their insensitivity have stretched our patience. Hence our resolution to hand over the battle to the gods of our land aside continued pursuit of the case through all lawful means.”
The community appealed to Ugwuanyi to use his good offices to call the ESHDC to order in the interest of peace, while urging developers who may have benefited from the land to desist from erecting structures on it to avoid forfeiture.
The community said that there may be a breakdown of law and order if the governor refused to intervene as a father within 14 days.
Meanwhile, Eziachi village has also joined in calling on the state governor to prevail on the ESHDC from alienating them from their land under the guise of developing the Ibrahim Abacha Estate.
THISDAY’s attempts to speak with Agu proved abortive. But a statement credited to him accused few elders of the communities of attempting to frustrate development in the area. He urged the general public to discountenance their protest.