The peace in Aguleri and Umueri communities in Anambra East Council of Anambra State is under threat following alleged land-grabbing by government officials and some individuals at the cargo and passenger airport project site in Umueri.
After a decade and half of bloody hostilities, tension is gradually returning to the two sister communities.
But Governor Willie Obiano has promised to look into the allegations of land-grabbing, encroachment beyond donated portion of land for the project as well as non-compensation.
The governor’s intervention came on the heels of the brief by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Professor Solo Chukwulobelu, who attended to protesters from Umuopu, Enuagu and Umuinu kindreds of Ifite Umueri.
The protesters made bonfires and blocked the road to the airport with placards reading “We can’t be refugees and IDPs in our own land”, “Anambra State Government, go to the portion of land given for the airport”, “Obiano, leave our land for us”, “We’re farmers, why collect our land to build housing estate?”
According to the Chairman of Ifite Umueri Community, Chief Uchenna Ndumuanya, the three kindreds donated 729.606 hectares for the airport project, but expressed surprise that the land expanded to about 1,901 hectares without formal notice of land acquisition or compensation.
Ndumanya noted that the community welcomed the citing of the airport in the area, adding that government had not done up to six per cent of work on Parcel B, only to connive with land speculators to grab more land for alleged sharing to government officials and politicians.
According to him, the purported Parcel B (539.781 hectares), Parcel C (276.746 hectares) and Parcel D (324.894 hectares) were not existent, wondering why government was shrouding the acquisition and execution of the project in secrecy, not allowing anybody, including journalists, to assess the project.xhttps://67148f14241c94366c523c8558691112.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
He pointed out that the entry into the said land was against the provisions of Section 44 (1)(a) and (b) of the constitution and Section 28 (1,2,3,4.5 and 6), Section 29 (1 – 3) and Section 44 (a – e) of the Land Use Act 1978.
“The above requirements were not fulfilled in the so-called Parcels B, C and D. There was no agreement, no notice of revocation and no compensation was paid to the land owners.
“You cannot compulsorily acquire farmlands of Umueri kindreds for over-riding public interest, only to partition and sell the land later to government officials, individuals and politicians,” he added.