Women from Umuleri in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State, yesterday, of their numbers, protested half-naked over what they described as grabbing of their land by the state authorities under the pretext of building an airport within the state.
The women accused the state governor, Willie Obiano, and top authorities officials of partitioning their land for private use.
They marched across the airport premises, chanting and making unprintable remarks concerning the governor. In addition, they made bonfires on the airport highway.
The protesters vowed to withstand any try by the federal government and its agents to deprive their children of their inheritance.
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They carried placards with various inscriptions comparable to: “Enugu, Umuinu and Umuopu kindred gave 729.606 hectares of land to the Anambra government during the Chris Ngige period, however, Obiano’s government forcefully took further 1,200 hectares.”
Others have been: “Anambra government has taken over our lands; where can we farm? Are we to become refugees in our personal land?”
The chairman of the community, Uchenna Ndumanya, described the development as unfortunate and wicked.
“We’re the people of Ifite Umuleri. We’re the people that donated airport land to the Anambra State Government during the Dr Chris Ngige regime, about 14 years ago.
“Once we donated the land we gave them about 729. sixty-six hectares however now they’ve left that particular place we donated to them and simply encroached into our individual lands.
“They’re now encroaching into about 1,901 hectares, about 3 times of what we gave to the state government. We had our first protest on the matter in 2019. And since then nothing has been accomplished,” he alleged.
He added that the community had petitioned the Commissioner of Police, the Directorate of State Services, however, nothing has occurred.
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The additional alleged that the governor, the SSG and the state’s commissioner for works have been all from Aguleri, an extended-time rival community to Umuleri, hence they have been adamant about the alleged land grab plan.
“They want to turn us refugees in our community; however we can be turned in to Internally Displaced Individuals (IDPs) in our own land due to the airport,” he stated.
“The airport work is going on however not on the land we initially gave the federal government. They’ve rather shared the unique land we gave them amongst themselves and encroached into our individual land to build the airport.
“The implication is that Aguleri has succeeded in relocating Umuleri from our ancestral and original place,” Ndumanya added.
He stated the entire community would be displaced if the project was allowed.
When contacted on phone, the Commissioner for Works, Marcel Ihejiofor, stated he was in an exco meeting and couldn’t speak on the matter.