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Alleged Land grabbing; Ebonyi community Absolves former SGF Pius Anyim

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By Ruth Oginyi

Residents of Amagu community, Ishiagu in Ivo local government area of Ebonyi, Friday absolved former Nigeria President of the Senate and Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim of forcefully taking over their land in Ovumte land settlement in the area.

The report has it that a group of persons had opposed the parcellation of the Ovumte farm settlement an act that led to a crisis in the area last week.

The people accused Senator Anyim of grabbing their land but the Amagu community said the accusation was false.

Amagu Ishiegu is the home of the erstwhile Nigeria senate President.

Leaders of the community who spoke to Orientdaily at Ovumte on Friday explained that the decision to percelate 158 hectares of the Ovumte land settlement was the collective decision of Amagu community after their general meeting to enable every family to have a portion of the land and not for Anyim to claim it as widely speculated by mischief-makers.

The people maintained that the land parcellation will help both the old and younger generation stressing that their home was already congested but creating a new city at the Ovumte settlement will decongest their current residential area and bring more development to the area.

Mr. Ukah Livinus Okorie, Chairman, Amagu Development Union(ADU), in his submission refuted the crisis on the ongoing parcellation of the Ovumte land settlement recently.

He said the land settlement was a communal land and that there was an oral agreement by forefathers of the community to allow some persons that settled in the land to be living there for farming and give way anytime the community wants to use the land for development purposes.

He urged the public to disregard the fake information that senator Anyim grabbed people’s land in Ovumte.

He said those dragging senator Anyim name into the land parcellation which is a community agreement want to use such lies to attract unnecessary public sympathy which they can not get as truth can not be hidden.

“As far as I know as Chairman of the community, Ovumte land is a general land that belongs to the whole community. Though some people might come up trying to claim ownership of the land. Right from time immemorial, such people have been here and the community kept them as tenants, they pay rents to the community and the community allow them to stay. Our fathers made an oral agreement that they can stay here but any time the community wants to make use of the land, the community is free to do so and we have been doing that.

“All of a sudden, these people started laying claim to the land saying that the land belongs to them and the community and the community has been making plans to parcelate the whole Ovumte land so that every family in this community will have a share. This arrangement has been ongoing for the past twenty years. As I entered into this administration, 1st January 2020, that was when the community has finished every arrangement to start land parcellation.

“If they want to attract public sympathy, they will now go and call the name of one of our illustrious sons, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim that he is claiming the land. Anyim is not claiming any land in Ovum. Whatever is happening here is just the brainchild of the whole community, not the brainchild of any individual. So, the community is ready now to percolate the land and make it reach every family in the community and that is what we are doing.

“Each time these people want to attract people’s sympathy into this case, they will start calling names of persons like Senator Anyim Pius Anyim because they know that he is a distinguished man. So, they are just calling his name, placing their hands on him so that they will attract sympathy. Anyim is never part of what we are doing, he is not involved in any land matter. He is an indigene of Amagu and anything that Amagu is doing, he is supposed to follow them and do it, but he is not involved in this particular thing the community is doing. What we are doing is the brainchild of the community, it is not the brainchild of any individual. So, anybody calling his name is just trying to attract public sympathy because they know that when they call his name, his detractors will start saying this man has come again to do this and that. So, Anyim is never involved in this matter”.

On his part, the coordinator of Ivo Development Center, Mr. Uchechukwu Afudike while reacting to the issue urged the people to maintain peace and follow the directive given by the council chairman last Wednesday during the peace meeting at ishaka the council headquarters.

Mr. Uche who also said the matter was still in the court, said the parties should wait for the court’s final judgment.

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