Furore over Enugu community land deal
From Tony Adibe, Enugu
The sale of 2,000 hectares of a communal land belonging to the Akama-Oghe autonomous community, Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State, has reportedly caused bad blood in the community.
One of the leaders in the community, Chief Christian Akpata, said he is ready to die over the issue. It was gathered that the land was sold to a Chinese firm for the construction of an industry.
Chief Akpata also alleged that due to his opposition to the sale of the 40,000 plots, his life has been under threat. He claimed that the land deal has denied the community even the space to bury their dead.
He said he has written petitions to the Inspector General of Police, Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, his deputy, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo and the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, over the matter.
Speaking to Daily Trust on Sunday in Enugu, Akpata said: “I’m ready to die or go to prison because of this matter. But I have to tell the whole world that I’m not a murderer. I’m not a father of criminals.”
According to him, those behind the controversial land sale are capitalizing on the absence of the traditional ruler of Akama-Oghe, who he said has been having health challenges since last year, to execute their plans.
However, the President General of the community, Chief Celestine Ukwuani, while reacting to the allegations, said that there was no problem in his community, stressing that it was only Akpata, who was busy engineering problem in the area “because he was excluded from the land committee handling the issue”.
Ukwuani said the state government requested for the land in question and that the deal involved three communities namely, AkamaOghe, Enugu Eke, and Ogwuofia Owa.
Ukwuani denied threatening Akpata’s life in any manner, saying, “we are not threatening him. He is the one threatening the community. And on that basis, we are preparing a petition against him.”
Meanwhile, the state government at the weekend through the Lion Business Park Limited presented a cheque of N300 million to the three communities as compensation for the economic crops and structures on the 2,000 hectares of land acquired for the development of the Lion Business Park industrial project in collaboration with a Chinese firm.
It was gathered that the industrial project is aimed at creating a manufacturing and integrated industrial hub in the state and the South-east zone in general.
From left: Vice President, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Engr. Tasiu Gidari Wudil, representing the President of NSE; Immediate Past President, Federation of African Engineers Organisations (FAEO), Engr Mustafa Balarabe Shehu; member African Union Commission (AUC), Dr Mohammed Kyeri and AUC member, Mrs Marie Johnson at the stakeholders review meeting for ‘African Catalyst Project of Statistical Data for Women in Science and Engineering’ in Abuja yesterday