Trouble was today averted in Nnewi when Youths of the industrial city from the Umuezena quarters in Umudim-Nnewi, today took to the streets in bitter protest to the alleged attempt by the Anambra state government to seize their ancestral land without any notice whatsoever.
It was gathered that some agents of the state government forcefully entered a parcel of land said to have been collectively given to Chief Innocent Chukwuma (Innoson) and Sir Chika Okafor (Chikason)for the expansion of their factories. The said officials were said to have destroyed everything in sight on the said land.
In a presentation, copy of which was given to journalists, the youths through their spokesman Hon Nwachukwu Akachukwu who is the Chairman, of Lands Committee for the community said the expansive land belongs to five kindreds in the community. That the families concerned through their Obis (traditional heads decided to give out the land to indigenous industrialists from Nnewi so as to bring development and employment close to the people of Umuezena who have over the years been abandoned by successive administrations in the state.
The statement noted that “What the government officials did here yesterday fell short of known government procedure and protocols. It is difficult for us to believe that government officials would enter a land and start destroying everything in sight and even carted away some materials from the site.
“This is even more so when there is no letter from the state government to notify us about government’s intention about the land.” Nwachukwu noted.
He recalled that an indegene of the community, an estate and property developer, based in Lagos had contacted the community to develop the land but his request was turned down because our people are resolute on what they want to do with the land.
“We gave out two hundred plots of land to Chief Innocent Chukwuma and two hundred and fifty plots to Sir Chika Okafor for the extension and expansion of their industries since 2004.
“If not for the intervention of Comptroller of Nnewi Correctional Center, Mr Uche Agwu who pleaded with the government officials to stop destroying things when they stormed the place, the level of destruction would have been total.
“It is a shame that the state government would move into the land now and interrupt the developmental efforts when individuals have started giving us a helping hand. There is no iota of state government presence in our community all these years and we see this attempt as not just provocative but frustrating.” He declared.
They threatened a showdown with the government officials anytime they illegally enter their ancestral land again. They consequently pulled down bill board mounted by the state government claiming ownership of the land.
Efforts were said to have now been initiated by elders and community leaders with a view to resolving the matter peacefully with the state government.