AHOCOL residents seek gov’t intervention over land grabbing
By Gabriel Chy Alonta
Over 20 professors, three permanent secretaries and other members of the defunct Anambra Housing Corporation Limited (AHOCOL), Wednesday, cried foul over alleged grabbing of an open space designated for the estate recreation and event centre by suspected agents of Anambra State Housing Development Corporation (ASHDC).
The residents, who disclosed this to newsmen in Awka, the Anambra state capital, urged Governor Willie Obiano, secretary to state government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, and the State House of Assembly Speaker, Hon. Uchenna Okafor, to urgently intervene in what they described as an “avoidable land crisis in the estate”.
Addressing newsmen at the site, the estate chairman, Prof. Stanley Chidi Udedi, said the leadership of the estate had petitioned the state government over plans by the ASHDC Managing Director, Arch Willie Okafor, and the purported buyer, one Mr. Kingsley Nwafor, to sell the land to private individuals at the expense of the public interest it was originally meant for.
He said the land, situated in the estate, had been serving it’s residents for recreation, relaxation and other social events for over 20 years it was allocated to them by the government.
He explained that the residents had committed much in securing and developing the said land into a functional masterpiece, including construction of a bungalow and sand-filling the heavily waterlogged portion.
According to Udedi, “our children, youths and adults use the recreation centre for their many sporting activities, including football, table tennis, badminton, ludo and draught games, while elders use the venue for evening relaxations and hypertension/stress free centre.
“The estate residents provided all the finances for the projects through levies and free will donations from members, which have culminated into millions of naira over the years.
“The leadership surprisingly got a letter on October 29, 2020, from the ASHDC signed by one ESV A.I. Nwofor, conveying the information of the purported sale of the center to one Mr. Kingsley Nwafor. This letter, the first of its kind since we took over the estate from the defunct AHOCOL, has generated bitterness and rancor in the state since receipt.
“To make the matter worse, the purported buyer of the recreation centre has been harassing the entire estate with thugs, attacking both the estate executives and security men, which have generated serious tension in the estate. The youths are agitated, fully mobilised and ready for a reprisal attack but we have restrained and enjoined them not to take laws into their hands”.
While raising alarm over an impending crisis occasioned by the alleged land grabbing, the estate chairman said the residents were ready to go to court if the agents refused to back out from the struggle.
Orient Weekend reports that the State Housing Development Cooperation (ASHDC), had, in a letter to the chairman of the residents association, AHOCOL Housing Estate, disclosed that the open space had been allocated to residential land use developers.
The letter, signed by the Director of Estate Services, ESV. A. I. Nwofor, on behalf of Arch Okafor, and obtained by this reporter, reads in part, “It is imperative to bring to your notice that the open spaces of the estate earlier designated for recreational uses, which has been fallow and undeveloped for the past 20 years, has been dezoned and fly allocated to genuine residential land use developers.
“The corporation is a planning authority under the law over all her estates, thus, our review policy is in line with international best practices which permits review/appraisal every five (5) years. We hope that the review will bring growth and eliminate unpleasant activities within the subject areas of the estate.
“Please, note that all allottees of the estate are expected to commence developments up to habitable stage within two years as stated in their allocation letters, failure to comply, attracts revocation without any notice”.