Delta Monarch, Subjects Jubilate as Court Orders Return of Community Land Acquired by Nigerian Army

Sylvester Idowu in Warri

There was wild jubilation in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State yesterday after the declaration by an High Court in Effurun nullifying the purported acquisition of parts of Ohore land by the Nigerian Army.

Hundreds of Uvwie Chiefs and indigenes, especially those from Ohore one, danced and sang on major roads in Uvwie LGA thanking God for the legal victory.

Tagged: ‘Victory Walk’, the excited indigenes carried various placards thanking the judiciary for the case which lasted 10 years before “we can sing the songs of victory.” They had taken the bold move to reclaim their land from the Nigerian military to the High Court in Effurun in 2014.

According to the indigenes, the Nigeria Army represented by the Nigerian Army 3 Battalion, Effurun barracks extended far beyond what was legally acquired for them in the early sixties.

As the news of the legal victory filtered out, the Uvwie people, including some palace chiefs, took to the streets in celebration.

The people thanked the Ovie of Uvwie kingdom, Abe, for the relentless effort in ensuring that Uvwie kingdom got justice over the land issue.

An elated Ovie of Uvwie kingdom, Abe 1, was moved by the crowd and joined them in the victory song.

The Uvwie monarch said parts of Ohore one land was conceded to the army in 1964 after the federal government said it wanted to build the main campus of the Nigerian Defence Academy, (NDA).

He added that the military academy was eventually located in Kaduna and that the federal government decided to use the acquired land for the building of army barracks now known as 3 Battalion Barracks, Effurun.

Abe 1 further disclosed that when the construction of the barracks was completed in 1979, a large portion of the land was unused and that the army, rather than returning the remaining land to the owners who need it for survival, started selling the land to investors and speculators while other parts were rented out to small-time traders in the Mammy Market.

He said the total portion of the land acquired in 1975 was 4,640 acres and that another 436 acres of land was acquired without the approval of the Uvwie people.

The Ovie of Uvwie thanked the judiciary, Chief Victor Otomewo, his chiefs, and all those who stood firmly to ensure that justice prevailed.

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