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Anambra community ends 99-year lease

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• Accuses Developer Of Alleged Shady Deals
The agrarian community of Isiagu in Awka South Local Council of Anambra State has recovered a piece of land at Ivolo, measuring 21.211 hectares, over alleged failure of the possessor, and agricultural developer, All Paul Agency Limited, to stick to original agreement of using same for agricultural purpose for a period of 99 years. 

The Deed of Lease between representatives of the land owners, Ezu Family Assembly (lessors) led by Samuel Nwosu and Elder Paul Ulasi, who does business as All Paul Agency Limited (the lessees), was dated January 10, 1978.

The agreement granted the lessees the right to pay N10,550 as ground rent to the lessors for a period of 99 years, in addition to other cultural requirements for effective use of the said land on January 7, every year.

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The Guardian check revealed that part of the said agreement permitted the lessee to take possession of the said land for farming and agro-allied purposes, and “peaceably hold and enjoy the property during the said term, without any interruption or disturbance by the lessors or any person claiming under or in trust for them.”

But, the Chairman of Ezu Family Assembly, Samuel Nwosu and Secretary, Sunday Odogwu, representing the sub-family groups of Echem and Odogwu/Okafor of Ezu Family accused the agricultural developers (the lessees) of breaches, including failure, refusal and neglect to pay the necessary ground rent and other customary requirements for about 20 years.

“It will interest you to know that for over 20 years, All Paul Agencies Limited, has failed to fulfil the legitimate expectations of our family due to its inability to abide by the terms and conditions stated in the lease agreement reached between us,” they contended

Nwosu and Odogwu said in the face of such grievous default, the lessees purportedly sold part of the said land to a third party, Golden Safeline Properties Limited, without the lessors’ consent.

According to them, the said third party had allegedly mounted its sign board on the land, and taken possession of the land owners’ property with impunity and breach of lease agreement, a development he described as “forcible entry and conduct likely to cause breach of peace.”

The land owners’ representatives said they did not want to take laws into their hands and decided to seek the traditional ruler of Isiagu, Igwe Augustine Nwankwo’s intervention.
When contacted, Igwe Nwankwo, told The Guardian that his subjects sought his intervention, adding that he tried to resolve the matter between both parties, by inviting the lessees for discussion concerning the Ezu land through courier message transmission dated November 25, 2019.

He lamented that till date, the lessees had shunned his overtures and peace initiatives.

Nwankwo faulted the lessees for such breach of agreement, stressing that the land owners were not encumbered to recover their land since the original purpose for which the land was leased had been defeated.

He said he would ensure the said Ivolo land, when recovered, “is put to good communal use to create wealth, generate jobs and alleviate poverty.”

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