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Man dies after losing land to C’River gov’t airport project

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By Joseph Kingston, Calabar
A middle aged man, Raphael Ushie, has reportedly slumped and died in Okambi village of Obudu local government area shortly after the government of Cross River state allegedly bulldosed his palm estate for the proposed airport project in the area. The plantation was said to be the only source of Ushie’s livelihood.
Orient Weekend had reported that widows and old women from Okambi, Igwo, Atiekpi and Ikwornikwo communities in the council area had vehemently protested citing the airports on their land. They had accused government of unilaterally grabbing their land for the project without any form of compensation.
Ushie’s death was made public by chiefs and elders of Okambi community. This was contained in a letter dated June 12, 2019, signed by UshakaAkumaye and ten others and addressed to the Paramount Ruker of Obudu, HRM Uti Joseph Agba.
The letter, which was made available to Journalist, read in part: “One of our sons, Mr Raphael Ushie, saw how his palm trees were being destroyed, came back home, slumped and died later at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital.
“In the last two months, it has been tears, sorrows, pains ad agony; it has been insults and abuse of all fundamental human rights, and our people are being wiped out of existence gradually.
“We have gone through anguish, psychological, mental and physical torture. In March, the government of Cross River state sent a delegation of two officials to our community to start meeting with us and commence initial discussion for a major project mainly on our land, including some portions of land in Atiekpe, Ikwormikwu and Igwo.
“The first wrong step the delegation took was meeting with some chiefs and selected persons overnight and then took two bulldozers into the community. When the bulldozers headed towards our farmland, the community raised alarm.”

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