Lawrence Nwimo, Awka
Indigenes of Ifite Enugwu-agidi in Njikoka Local Government Area, Anambra State, have appealed to Governor Chukwuma Soludo to intervene and stop affluent individuals from taking over their communal lands.
The Trans-Obibia area of Ifite Enugwu-agidi has been a subject of litigation following an alleged attempt by certain affluent individuals who are into Real Estate business to make inroads into the communual land.
The villagers were said to have sued MD/CEO of the GSS Real Estate and Investment Limited, Mr. Anthony Chukwudi Ezenwa; the MD/CEO of the Blue Shield Security company, Ozo Jeff Nweke; and other influential individuals for intrusion and trespassing into the said land.
The people also accused the state’s Commissioner for Lands of conniving with the alleged trespassers to re-register the land in question, which, they said, had long been registered in 2021 as Trans-Obibia Layout.
According to them, the matter which is still in court has an existing injunction restraining Mr Ezenwa from any actions on the land including renaming, registration, and development of the said area.
The people who described Ezenwa and company as land grabbers explained that farming on the land has been their source of sustenance
Numbering over 100 including red-capped men, aged women, and youths, the villagers protested to the Ministry of Lands before they marched to the State Government House, chanting protest songs to register their grievances.
They bore placards with various inscriptions such as “Governor Soludo Please Give Us Solution to our Land,’ ‘Dubai Estate Obey Court Order,’ Dubai Estate Does Not Have Any Land Within Ifite Village, Enugwu-agidi,’ Trans-Obibia Layout of Enugwu-agidi Does Not Belong To Dubai Estate Developer,’ Commissioner for Land Cannot Sell Ifite Village Enugwu-agidi Land,’ among many others.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, former Vice Chairman of the Village, Benjamin Nwanneka Ejinaka, said a group of land grabbers is suppressing the village trying to take over their land.
“We have held meetings with the Lands Commissioner, Dubai Estate and some elders of the village. When we were talking, the Commissioner was asking how it would be settled but unfortunately the matter was already in court.
“The Commissioner wanted to re-register the land earlier but considering the issue surrounding it, the registration was suspended. We however discovered that the land was later re-registered even when the matter is still pending in court.
“The Estate has been existing as Trans-Obibia. So, we are surprised and our annoyance is why should the Commissioner agree to re-register the land illegally,” Ejinaka queried.
Speaking further, he said that the ownership of the 338 plots within the Trans-Obibia Layout by the members of Ifite Village Enugwu-agidi has never been contested or challenged by any person or group of persons, as everybody knows they were the rightful owners of the land.
“We decided to take this approach to call on the governor to intervene and help us retrieve our land from the land grabbers. We have no other land we call our own and the land is where we cultivate for our daily bread,” he said.
Addressing the protesters on behalf of Offornze Amucheazi, the Lands Commissioner, Surveyor General of Anambra State, Surv. Anthony Idigo, denied that the said land has been re-registered.
“The state Commissioner said I should tell you people that no land was re-registered or allocated to anybody.”
He commended the people for the peaceful approach to their protest and assured them that the Commissioner would schedule a roundtable meeting with them to address their concerns.
Addressing the protesters on behalf of the Chief Security Officer at the Government House, Admin Police Officer, SP Obiora Onyemauche, said “the message of the protest will be channeled to the appropriate quarters for the governor to hear your complaints.”
He however urged them to continue to conduct themselves peacefully till the matter is resolved.
When contacted, the MD/CEO of the GSS Real Estate and Investment Limited, Mr. Ezenwa, said he followed due process to acquire the said land, noting that the land in question did not even totally belong to the community except few portions he said belonged to few individuals in the village, and which he said he also paid for.
He also said he did not receive any court order restraining him from developing the land or registering his estate.