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LAND ENCROACHMENT: Oba community Seeks Anambra Government’s Intervention



By Praise Chinecherem

Concerned families in Umuogali village, Oba in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State have raised the alarm over alleged land grabbing by a certain developer in the area.

The protesters called on government to immediately stop registration by the developer who claimed to have acquired the Ugbo Umuogali farmland in Oba community.

Addressing newsmen on Friday shortly after meeting with Commissioner for Lands and the purported developer, a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police from Umuogali village, Mr Bon Azubuike noted that there is an existing law forbidding foreigners from acquiring the land, revealing that the developer is neither from Oba nor Umuogali.

He said, “Article 3.5 of Umuogali Constitution forbids such acquisition. On the side of an environmentalist, that place is a fresh swamp area and not suitable for the kind of development the Increase Estate is bringing. 

“Besides, the land in dispute is a sacred groove and not a place for a non-Oba person, and even if he rightfully acquires the place today, he can not change our ancestral name of our groove to something that does not relate to our existence.”

Azubuike regretted that youths who supposedly sold the land to the developer had added terrorism to their activities and tormented people of the area to the extent that they could not access their lands.

“Anyone who is seen near the entire place is assaulted, macheted and maimed by the people who he claimed sold the land to them. We have even lost someone as a result of this tussle,” he stated.

The retired ACP maintained that nobody is above the law and so, the law must be obeyed that no stranger should enter the land and ignorance of the law, is not an excuse. 

He said; “The developer cannot say he is ignorant of the law precluding some people from acquiring the land.

“There is also the cliché ‘buyer beware’ in acquisition of property. It is the buyer that should beware and not the seller. If he buys from the wrong people, he should hold himself responsible.

“They should also allow our people access into their farmlands because our people even fear them more than the Fulani herdsmen because of the kinds of negative things they do.

“We also ask government to look into how it can organize us as cooperatives to return our youths to the farms because if our youths are returned to the farms, majority of the youths would have been pulled out of the negative venture of indiscriminate land sale and given a positive direction.

“Most importantly, Oba does not have land again. The land is the only farmland the community has because of the sudden development that came to the community so it is of great concern to them.”

The concerned stakeholder thanked the state government for initiating the meeting but urged them to sustain the meeting and ensure that the right thing is done.

Also speaking, former chairman, Idemili South Council Area, Hon Edwin Egbobe from Umuogali village said the concerned owners of the lands have not sold their lands, adding that the community was not consulted by those who claimed to have bought the lands.

“The issue is that some people trespassed on our lands forcing our people not to enter their farmlands with thugs. They eventually sold our lands to the purported buyer.

“We got the wind of a notice placed by the State Ministry of Lands that the person wants to register the land and we wrote petitions asking the Ministry not to register him because it was not legitimately purchased.

“That is what we are protesting that we, the concerned owners of the lands have not sold our lands and whoever sold or bought the lands did not consult us.

When contacted, Commissioner for Lands, Prof Offornze Amucheazi declined comments, but said both parties have been asked to meet to resolve the matter and return next month.

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