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Delta community petitions Uduaghan - “Acquisition of Umuodafe, Ibusa Family Land

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.

 

 

 The 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.

 

 

They 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. 

For the acquisition of the land for  Asaba Airport , they said that a paltry N2 million was paid as against a whopping N500 million that was paid for a similar acquisition at Usubi for the Warri Airport .

 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.

 

 

They alleged that a mere 163.7 hectare land of the 1,500 hectare only was de-acquired by the government to Ibusa people.

Ikpo 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.” 

They 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.

“To 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.” 

 

By Felix lgbekoyi Correspondent, Asaba