Judex Okoro, Calabar
Widows in Obudu Local Government Area of Cross River State have kicked against the take over of their farmlands for the proposed Obudu International Passenger and Cargo Airport.
Ayade and his kinsmen from Okambi, Igwo, Atiekp and Ikwornrikwo communities have been on ‘silent war’ over the proposed International cargo airport in Obudu.
While the kinsmen are kicking against the location of the project on their land as it would cost them their means of livelihood, the government has gone ahead to acquire over nine square kilometres of land even without paying compensation.
The most affected are widows from the four communities, who have raised the alarm over the destruction of their palm plantations and farms worth hundreds of millions of naira.
Speaking on behalf of the affected widows, Mrs. Agness Agba, lamented their living condition and the untold hardship the proposed airport has brought no them.
Agba, a retired teacher from Okambi village, said they regret voting for Governor Ayade who is their son because they voted themselves into hell fire.
“As we talk with you, bulldozers have brought down about three kilometres of palm trees plantations on Okambi land.
“Over 70 percent of our land is already gone. Only about N3 million was paid to Okambi and Ikwonkwu communities as compensation.We widows earn our living from the economic trees.
“We regret voting the governor for the second time because of the kind of hardship we are now facing. Our farms, including palm estate has been destroyed. For me, the palm estate was my pension and retirement plan and the major source of income for us.
“It seems we have voted ourselves into hell fire with the kind of treatment we are now getting.I am over 60 years, I retired as a teacher and I have lost my husband.
“I have eight children some are grown and married but the ones with me, I have to train.”
“All my hope is on the palm estate that has been destroyed. I have no other means to survive with my children, it is my major source of income.
“The authorities should please take the cargo airport project to somewhere else because they have taken all our land and have no way to farm. I can’t start planting new ones now. I feel pained in my soul,” she said.
In his reaction, former special adviser, Technical to Governor Ayade, Eric Akpo, who superintends over the project, said it is not true that widows, youths and the community were being attacked in Obudu over the proposed Obudu interest and cargo airport.
Explainjng that it is totally false, he wondered why widows or the community should protest when government had paid over 70 percent of the compensation for the lands acquired to the host communities.
Neighbouring communities, he said, were also appealing that “we include them even though we have not acquired their lands.”