Obeagu Awkunanaw Community Protests Alleged Land Acquisition In Guise Of Centenary City

By Adadareporters

Men and women of Obeagu, Awkunanaw community in Enugu South LGA of Enugu State, in their thousands, have protested what they called a ‘styled’ acquisition of their ancestral land by a private developer claiming to have the state government backing.

Our correspondent reports that the protesters alleged that the Centenary City which is laying claims to their land is a private estate developers, adding that there was no time the community gave a consent for the acquisition of the land by the developers.

The traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Mike Nnukwu, Tuesday, told newsmen that there was a grand plot to annihilate his community unjustly. He called for a due process to avoid ugly consequences.

In his words, “They have dispossessed my community of land already given to the youths of tomorrow to build houses. We just woke up to see a company, Private Estates International West Africa, promoters of the Centenary City, laying claims to the vast land. The management claimed it was allocated to them by the former Gov Sullivan Chime administration.

“What we know is that we gave land to former Anambra Gov Jim Nwobodo to build the permanent site of Anambra State University. We know it was 318 hectares of land but Nwobodo couldn’t actualize the dream, same as the military administrations that succeeded him. After Chimaroke Nnamani relocated ESUT to Agbani, the land was supposed to revert to us. We have always supported the government. We preferred government to individual companies.

“It has been a terrible experience on our side that instead of 318 hectares, it was escalated to 1,097 hectares. Up until now, the whole 12 villages in our community have been in dilemma because we’re all affected by this illegal acquisition. There has been a synergy between some people to ensure that our ancestral land is taken away without our consent.

“We’re asking Governor Peter Mbah to come to our aid. How can they use a government agency to commit these destructions whereas the government is not really in it? So we plead with Governor Peter Mbah to give us a hearing ear so that we can come and explain to him. Moreso, we have given part of our land for the New Enugu City Project.

“Our case is all about the lingering issue of Private Estate International, otherwise known as Centenary. They have come to acquire an illegal land in my community.

“Our youths are no longer happy. Our women are not happy. Some of the houses they marked to be removed are houses our people have done their best to ensure they can live in as human beings. This private estate is a private individual business. We have nothing to do with them. No compensation was paid to our people. There is no memorandum of understanding between our people and them. How come that these people have decided to be intimidating us with our money – the money they sold from our land? There are a lot of stories.”

Speaking also, Mr Reuben Okafor, president general of the community, said one of the demolished houses was a proposed hospital initiated by his son.

According to him, “Enugu Capital Territory Authority through Centenary City demolished the proposed hospital. They have been worrying our community since 2009, trying to take over our community for no reason. They claim they are building a new township. Are the people of Obeagu not qualified to live in the new township? The place they call Centenary City is being sold by them. Nobody gave it to them. Our community did not give them any consent or anybody did. Instead they are doing everything ‘corner corner’.

“We have a series of court cases against them, with many of them having court injunctions restraining them from accessing our land. The land for all the projects you see here was not sold to anybody by the community, but members of our community who are willing and have the money to build houses are given allocations to do that. An MoU has been prepared between whoever is an indigene and the community to build on the land allotted to them.

“The people that came to demolish the buildings wore masks. They came in about seven vehicles. We only recognised the DRS Police, and the Enugu Capital Territory Authority. If it is a genuine job, why must it be done on a Saturday? Does Capital Territory work on Saturdays? The developers brought them to intimidate us. Are we not qualified to be part of the new township? Don’t we have people with the capability to build any kind of house? We have told the government that if they want any space, they can approach us.”

The chairman, Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, Mr Uche Anya, however, stated the government position.

He said, “We are determined to stamp out the culture of distorting Enugu municipality masterplan and shall not allow any development that contravenes the law or serves as a hideout for criminals.”

Adadainfo Adadareporters.com is an online newspaper reporting Nigerian news. Email: adadainfo1@gmail.com Phone: 08071790941

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