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Stakeholders commend Obiano on Cargo Airport as communities kick over land

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Some stakeholders, yesterday, commended Governor, Willie Obiano, over the ongoing Anambra Cargo Airport at Umuleri in Anambra East Council area, describing it as a legacy project that would redefine the socio-economic life of state and the South East zone.

National Chairman of the Willie Obiano Support Group, Chief Jude Emecheta, said the project was strategically located in the agricultural, industrial and commercial hub of the state to accelerate the economic development of the zone and serve traders, farmers, industrialists and investors.

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Emecheta, who is Managing Director and Chief Executive officer of Anambra State Signage and Advertising Agency (ANSAA), pointed out that the Airport would also expand and increase the export capacity as goods and agricultural produce would be easily airlifted, thereby eliminating the cost of transporting goods to and from other airports to Anambra and make them cheaper for consumers.

Corroborating Emecheta, a lawyer, Mike Omenugha, said the Airport would accelerate growth and development of key sectors of the state’s economy, boost its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and enhance sustainable development. He noted that it would further stimulate development of the rural communities.

But, some families in Mgbede, Umuatuolu and Ogbu villages in Umuleri Community, which had donated 729.606 hectares of land to Orient Petroleum Refinery for an Air Strip in 2006, when Dr. Chris Ngige was governor, but later upgraded to an airport, are now crying foul.

Addressing newsmen after their joint kindred meeting, their spokesman, Ndumanya expressed doubt over the realisation of the project, alleging that it was a ploy to dispossess the Umuleri Community of their ancestral land, which Obiano’s Aguleri Community could not actualise during the Aguleri– Umuleri war.

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He said, “The government wants to take about 1901 hectares from us. We don’t know anything about Parcels B, C and D. It was government that generated those parcels, they are non-existent,” Ndumanya added.

While noting that the community welcomed the location of the Cargo Airport in the area, he alleged that government had not done up to six per cent of work on Parcel B, only to connive with land speculators to grab more land for the Willie Obiano Estate, claiming that agents of the state government have been sharing part of the land to some government officials and politicians.

On his part, former National President, Umuleri National Youth Forum, Chibuzo Ekwenye, confirmed that the only portion of land the kindreds donated for the Airport Project was the one marked Parcel A to Orient Petroleum Resource Plc adding “they have started selling plots of land for estate development against the airport that was originally agreed upon.”

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