Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 14 August 2014 | 3,423 times
Hundreds of Awka indigenes yesterday embarked on a peaceful demonstration within the capital city, seeking to drive home their distaste for alleged illegal acquisition of their land by agents of the Anambra State Government.
According to the leader of the demonstrators, Chief Anayo Obidigbo, the State Government did not write or consult them before acquiring the land.
He stressed that they would vehemently oppose any further construction on the land until proper acquisition was made by the State Government.
His words: “There are procedures under the Land Use Act of 1978 for acquisition of land by government. No compensatory land was given; no compensation on crops destroyed or valuation was made; neither was there any committee set up by government to liaise with the community.
“The acquisition by a private developer and the state government was illegal and was not in the public interest. If the land was acquired for the construction of an international hospital or any other project, you will not find us here.”
Chief Obidigbo claimed that the developer is selling each plot for N8 million and residential building at N35 million, describing the situation as mere land speculation by shylock developers in collaboration with the State Government.
Another community leader, Comrade Obi Ochije said the peaceful protest was aimed at asking the government to duly compensate the community, adding that a legal action was also being considered.
He further said that they have reached out to the authorities in writing to come and settle with the community, but they did not respond.
“We have been told that the land was sold on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, but how could that be done without the knowledge of the owners of the land?” Ochije asked.
He added that the community was willing to settle with the owners of the plots taken already if all the terms and conditions were met.
“We want government to stay away from our land. If we see any development on the land again, government should be ready to crush us and spill our blood because we will not accept it,” he said.
Reacting to the development, the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Lands, Survey and Town Planning, Mr. Douglas Mba, said all land acquired by the State Government were duly compensated for.
He disclosed that the said land, estimated to be about 1,600 plots, is located at the highbrow Ngozika Estate which is being developed by a private developer.
•Photo shows protesting Awka indigenes.
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