The people of Umuoke Umuagiriga Uborji Okuku in Owerri West, have decried hijacking of their land by Commissioner for Lands, Hon. Noble Atulaegwu and his accomplices.
They alleged that the Commissioner and his cohorts are using brute force, intimidation, harassment with security operatives to illegally grab their farm land for their selfish gains.
The people warned them to stop denting the good image of Governor Hope Uzodimma by using his name to grab their land to dubiously enrich themselves at the expense of the agrarian community.
Speaking through one of their elders, Mr. Uka Henry, while responding to the alleged invasion of their community by Policemen from Tiger Base, Owerri Command, at the early hours of Monday, lamented that some of the Land Committee Members and some selfish elders are allegedly working with the Commissioner for Lands to grab their land using the name of the state government.
Uka buttressed that the private property developers, some of who he said come from Okuku including Noble Atulegwu had earlier told them about government’s intention to take large expanse of their land for housing estate, but nothing of that nature happened, only for them to come with military men who the said allegedly bulldozed their land, parcelled and sold all the portions to people.
According to them, “we initially thought it was government who is taking our land, but we discovered after thorough investigation was carried out that it was not government who actually came for our land by how they entered and started selling the land to private persons instead of building estate as stated. There is no public infrastructure sited as an indication of government presence which also made us to believe that they conspirators came to do individual business with our farm land”.
The people emphasized that the Commissioner for Lands had allegedly told them in clear terms that government is not taking their land when they visited him at his office recently in Owerri, just as Nlemoha Chris and others had earlier told them the same thing, wondering why “Atulegwu is bent at denting the good image of Governor Hope Uzodimma out of his personal interest while the 3R administration is on recovery process”.
They pleaded with the Governor to come in and “save his image from being dented by Atulegwu and his cohorts who have resorted in using security agents to harass, intimidate, bully and arrest us simply because we refused them from taking our land forcefully and illegally. Our land is seriously under siege. They are plotting to subdue us by all dangerous means.
These opportunists are now bringing in state government to cover their tracks of sin having reneged from their earlier statements and assurances of state government not interested in taking Okuku land without the Governor knowing”.
Seeing Uzodimma as a God-fearing politician and pragmatic leader, Uka appealed to the Governor to intervene and settle the issue amicably to avoid stealing of their land, blood shed and puncturing of his good image by some of his selfish appointees, the private property developers and some gullible and glutinous elders of Umuoke Umuagiriga Uborji Okuku, saying they are solidly behind the reelection process of Governor Hope Uzodimma who they believe would uphold good governance in the state if he is reelected.
“One of us was battered and illegally picked up by police men (from Tiger Base) who invaded our community in the early hours of Monday. His father and siblings were also maltreated. They shot sporadically to frighten us.
They listed some persons opposed to their infiltration into our land to be arrested, but they narrowly escaped. We did not commit any crime, we are only resisting them from taking our land forcefully and crookedly. We know that government owns every land, but due process should be followed as Land Act demands”, they stated.