Furore over Enugu com­mu­nity land deal

Sunday Trust - - NEWS -

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.

Photo: AB­DUL MUSA

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

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