Nekede community protests Imo govt disputed land trespass
By Buchi Iwuji (Owerri)
The people of Umuejechi in Nekede, Owerri West local government area of Imo state, have staged a peaceful protest over alleged invasion of their land by agents of the Imo state government.
The protesters, numbering over 200, comprising men and youths, said they were worried over the removal of caveat emptor (buyer beware) notice placed at the entrance property used as Agricultural Developmental Corporation, ADC.
They displayed placards with varied inscriptions such as; “We have the court judgment”, “Uzodinma government should obey the rule of law”, “Our land not acquired, belong to Umuejechi people,” among others.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Dr. Etofelam Osuji accused the administration of Governor Hope Uzodinma of deception and unfairness to his people, cautioning the state government not to toe the path of former Governor Rochas Okorocha.
Osuji, appealed to the government of Imo state to leave their ancestral land alone, further accusing it of disobeying a court order by removing the caveat emptor placed in front of their land housing the Agricultural Developmental Corporation (ADC).
According to him, “former governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha, came and forcefully acquired our land and we took him to court and got judgment in our favour.
“The short-lived administration of Hon. Emeka Ihedioha after appealing the matter in court saw no point in following up the matter and withdrew it, commenced implementation of court order by paying us N20millon out of the N158million awarded to us.
“The second payment was about to be made before he left office” he noted.
He expressed worries that some commissioners came on Wednesday and removed their Court Order signage, warning them to stay clear their land. He said Governor Uzodinma was once a lawmaker and should please obey court order, he averred.
Speaking on behalf of the traditional ruler of the community, Chief Nkemakolam Christopher said they were on a peaceful mission.
According to him “the state government only leased our land and didn’t acquire it from the community, so we have every right to take it back. We have the judgment and Appeal is time bared.” “We have given over 50 percent of our lands to state government for Imo Zoo and Concord Hotel and we are not selling to anybody.
“Ihedioha tried his best to ameliorate our problems and we are using this platform to appeal to Hope Uzodinma’s conscience not to add to it but to come to our rescue” the royal father stated.
Reacting on the development, Sir Samuel Achigbu, Chairman Umuezechi Central Assembly, described the development as injustice and threatened that they would continue to employ all legal means to ensure that justice is done. Effort to reach the agent of Imo state government for reaction on the matter proves abortive as at press time.