Hightened tension mounts at Agbani Nguru community in Nsukka local government area, Enugu state as unknown state government agency allegedly invaded over 2000 hectres of land of the community without prior notice to the community.
The community took to the streets of Nsukka chanting sorrowful songs in protest to the alleged forceful entrance of the communal land destroying cash crops, cassava, yams among others.
The community numbering over 500 protesters said it was unlawful for any government, churches or agencies to forcefully enter communal land without prior notice to the owners of the land and an agreement reached before such agency or group of persons would mobilize and move
Some of the placards read ‘leave Agbani Nguru land’ Govt do not take land by force’ Abgani Nguru land is communal land’ Ministry of Housing stay from Nguiru land among others’’
Speaking during the protest, the secretary Nguru land committee Mr. Ugwu Bartholomew said it was surprising to the community to see government agency forcefully enter the communal land without the consent of the community, cleared large hectres of land for an alleged housing estate.
Mr. Ugwu said that the community trooped out in their numbers to see what the alleged government agency is doing in their land, only to see large number of armed policemen on guard while cartapillar was busy uprooting cassava, yam and other cash crops cultivated on the land in question.
‘’We were speechless as nobody approached the community for once before entering the land for any purpose. The ministry of lands had earlier entered the land; we went to court and obtained an injunction restraining government, it’s agency and privy from entering the land till the determination of the suit. Now the state ministry of Housing forcefully entered the communal land without any notice to the land owners’’ he said.
‘’It is illegal for any government agency to enter any land without consulting elders of the land.
The eldest Man of Nsukka Attama
Ezeogudo who is the major stakeholder of Nguru community was not consulted nor Nguru supreme general assembly before entering the land. It is inhuman and abuse of right to liberty and property’’
He called on the ministry of Housing to quietly stop work at Agbani Nguru land and broker dialogue for an agreement to be reached before any further work on the land, adding that the stop order of the community is to avoid breakdown of law and order with the government agency and the community over the forcefully occupation of the land measuring about 2000 hectres.
Also speaking Mr. Obute Thomas member Nguru land committee said that the community has no business with any government except ministry of lands that the law court advised us to go back to drawing board to make peace, explaining that the community is still at the peace process when the ministry of Housing with its commissioner Chief Peter Okonkwo entered the land illegally.
“Ministry of lands came to left side of the land for occupation before the injunction was obtained while ministry of Housing came to
the right wing of the land by force as they did not consult any member
of the land committee before embarking on clearing the land.
It is illegal, let them respect the law of land act and vacate till we were
able to dialogue with them peacefully. Government cannot forcefully
occupy about 2000 hectres of any community without consulting the
owners of the land.
The commissioner for Housing Chief Peter Okonkwo
is the brain behind Agbani Nguru land’’
He called on Enugu state governor to intervene to save Nguru communal
land, adding that the community is ready to partner with the state
government provided it’s through the right channel. Pointing that the
2000 hectres of in question belongs to the entire Nguru community and
due process has to be followed before lease and occupation.
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