People of Abba in Nwangele local government of Imo State have expressed deep anger over plans by both the Federal and Imo State governments to take over their ancestral land.
The land in question, called Ikpa Ihu Osu, also known as Ikpa Abba, is a long stretch of land that strides four communities of Abba, Umuozu, Amaigbo in Nwangele Local Government and Owerre Nkworji, in Nkwerre local government Area of Imo State.
It was gathered that government had awarded a contract for the clearing of the land without recourse to the land owners, but in a strong worded letter, the people, under the aegis of Abba Concerned Citizens, (ACC) warned of severe consequences if their common heritage was tampered with.
In a the letter signed by Chief Chris Onwuzurike and Chief Jeff Uju, who are co- conveners of Abba Concerned Citizens, the community said, “We, the entire indigenes of Abba Clan in Nwangele Local Government Area of Imo State, under the auspices of CONCERNED ABBA CITIZENS, wish to bring to the notice of the whole world, attempts by both the Federal and Imo State Governments to forcefully appropriate our land for proposed agricultural purposes.
“The story to this forceful appropriation of our heritage began when we woke up to an announcement that the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture had awarded contracts for the clearing of the land.
“Our investigations at the ministry revealed that on November 19, 2020, a contract was awarded to an Abuja-based company called Resultorient Exclusive Project Limited for bush clearing and land preparation of 200 hectares of land at Ikpa Abba, Eziaboh Dimnanume Okwe and Ekitiafor in Nwangele Local Government Area for the sum of N153, 518, 734.00.
“Another contract award dated same date was also awarded to Future Assured Investment Service Limited of Damaturu Crecent, Area 11, Abuja, for bush clearing and land preparation of 200 hectares of land at Umuozu, Ubahu Amaigbo Umuoma and Owerenkworji in Nwangele at the sum of N153, 722, 581.00.
“Still a third contract was awarded to Beyondreliable Global Limited of No. 54 Sultan Road, off Ibrahim Taiwo Road for the sum of N76, 872, 309, 00.
“The three contracts were signed by the Director, Procurement, Yakubu Kofarmata, on behalf of the Honourable Minister. Our further investigations revealed some clandestine plans to establish RUGA settlement in our Communities.
These projects would have commenced on Monday, November 30th, 2020, but the observance and eagle eyes of our people scuttled the exercise.
“We are surprised at this development because the government did not go through our representatives to perfect this deal.
“Ikpa Abba is our ancestral land and our only heritage and we will do everything to preserve our legacy and that of our children.
“We are by this medium advising the government to, please, leave our land and take their eyes off us.
We are saying no to any forceful entry, appropriation or clearing of our land for agricultural or any other purposes.
The people called on Governor Hope Uzodimma not to provoke them by tampering with their land, adding that though peaceful, they would do anything to resist this attempt at mortgaging and consigning them to second slavery.