Anambra community protests land acquisition, demands N80 million
DETERMINED to up turn land deal alleged to have been brokered by speculators, inhabitants of Isuanaocha community in Awka North Local Council Area of Anambra last week took to the street to protest illegal acquisition of their land by the state government.
The protesters numbering over 200 stormed Government House, Awka with placards some of which read: ‘farming is our only source of livelihood’, ‘land provides the means’, ‘People who signed the power of attorney are 419ners’, and ‘we say no to land speculations’ among others.
The aggrieved community, who was intercepted in front of Government House, Awka, by security operatives, said that they have received a notice of revocation of right of occupancy on Oct. 2, 2014 and subsequently a letter of acquisition of Otoko, Umuelom and Umudunu village farmlands.
The President-General of the community, Mr. Alfred Nkwonta, said farmlands in the area are approximately 108. 462 hectares, planned for acquisition at N80 million by the government for the construction of housing estate.
“The community does not even have land enough to give out over 108 hectares; more so when it was done without proper consultation with the villagers. If Gov. Willie Obiano who takes food production as the main pillar of his administration forcefully acquires the land, we the affected villages cannot survive as local farmers.
“Again, the affected villages did not mandate any person to negotiate or carry out transaction with government. We plead with the government therefore to stop further dealings or transaction with any person relating to the said land”, he said. Reacting to the protest, the state Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Planning, Mrs. Stella Onuorah, noted that the land was acquired legally and compensation paid appropriately to the original landowners.
“We must appreciate the fact that the governor has the right to revoke any land for overriding public interest. Gov. Willie Obiano felt that there was the need to create satellite towns because housing is one of the enablers of his four pillars of development,” she said.
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