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Umuodafe community in Ibusa, Delta State, has petitioned Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan over alleged arbitrary grabbing of farmlands by top officials of the Ministry of Lands and Survey in collaboration with some people.
ownership of the land areas comprising the sites of Asaba Airport, NNPC Mega
Station and surrounding farmlands, which measure in excess of 1,500 hectares was
asserted by a Supreme Court Judgment Suit No. SC/344/2001, which was decided
after 22 years against the people of Ogbewele-Okpanam.
In a petition to Uduaghan, titled, “Acquisition of Umuodafe, Ibusa Family Land by Your Government” and signed by Second Republic Senator, Nosike Ikpo, and 11 other elders of the community, they stated that Umuodafe Family own a greater portion of the land, and that the ministry has been sending letters of offer and allocations over the land to prominent persons a number of whom, having no need for such land, have declined the offer so made.
further alleged that some corrupt officials of the ministry are only
interested in selling portion of the land to the highest bidder and allot some
to choice persons, saying they have never been averse to contribute their
quota to the development of the state but their grouse is grounded by the greed,
avarice, arbitress and the inequitable treatment meted out to the community by officials
of the ministry who are in league with land speculators.
the acquisition of the land for
The petitioners said that it was disheartening that after the judgement, the government conceived and laid claim to a better portion of the land in an attempt to obliterate the “gains” otherwise due to Umuodafe, Ibusa.
alleged that a mere 163.7 hectare land of the 1,500 hectare only was de-acquired
by the government to Ibusa people.
and the other petitioners wrote: “The balance of well over 1,300 hectares
including certain areas previously agreed to be de-acquired in favour of
Umuodafe, inclusive of land areas opposite the airport site and NNPC Mega
Station, amounting to some hectares have suddenly kindled the appetite of the
staff of the Ministry of Lands.”
noted that the Umuodafe community sold out to third parties in its bid to raise
money to finance the case up to Supreme Court, adding sadly that the said land
has been clandestinely allocated to and sold to the highest bidders by crooked
officials of the ministry under the guise of giving a few top government
officials in the name of urban development.
“This injustice amounts to an outright disposition of our farmland, the only natural resource available to our community which is predominantly a farming community. It is also reflective of the violation of Land Use Act and the Constitution as land acquired and allocated there under, is subsequently sold off to third parties by the allottees, ultimately denying the community a big chunk of our only remaining farmland.”
They agitated for
the setting up of an independent panel to look into the sharp practices of the
top government officials and pleaded with the governor to direct the
de-acquisition of the remainder of the community’s land by the ministry
as such acquisition is against the interest of Umuodafe, Ibusa people.
deprive us of our ancestral land and make us fugitives in our homeland is
repugnant to natural justice and an injustice to our community which has always
been peaceful and law abiding and should not be taken for granted. We shall find
unacceptable a situation where our land and livelihood is taken away from us and
given to some other persons for the selfish aggrandizement of a select cabal in
the Ministry of Lands.”
Felix lgbekoyi Correspondent, Asaba