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Uproar in Ebonyi community over plot to convert ancestral land to Ruga

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Nkechi Oginyi & Uzoh Ugwueze

 

Residents of Isuokoma community in Onicha local government area of Ebonyi State, have raised the alarm over suspicious acquisition of their land for implementation of the federal government’s controversial RUGA scheme in the state. The community made their fears known through a communique issued after a meeting of Ndi Isuokoma in Diaspora, which took place in Enugu over the weekend. They vowed to resist any subtle moves by Ebonyi State government to convert their ancestral land into a settlement for pastoralists under the guise of establishing Starking Agro Nigeria Limited. The communique signed by Chief Tony Anoke, chairman and Mr Ngozi Nwoma, read in part: “After our critical investigation, consultations, discoveries and deliberations, we state that the purported 10,000 hectares agricultural project is suspected to be packaged RUGA project in disguise and as such the project is rejected in its entirety. “That some of the home dwellers, who signed as witnesses to the MOU were present at the meeting and pronounced openly
that they have retracted their actions having been intimidated and forced to sign the document under duress and for the interest of the community hereby renounced their actions “That the people, who purportedly signed the document are not the owners of the land and cannot represent Isuokoma in that capacity as the state government must consult, negotiate with the stakeholders and owners of the land for proper thing to be done in any project to be sited in Isu. “That Ndi Isuokoma in Diaspora, however, call on all sons and daughters of the community to remain calm and wait for the outcome of our plans and strategies as they unfold to tackle the issue to a logical conclusion. “That four committees have been set up and duties have also been assigned to them to kick start the immediate implementation of the resolutions. We further state that Isuokoma land is available for any genuine project and not the one surrounded with controversy, secrecy and suspicions. “The general public is, hereby, warned to keep away from any land transaction involving Isuokoma community without proper consultations.”

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