From: Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The Delta State House of Assembly has unanimously adopted a resolution calling on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to urgently intervene and stop the encroachment of Edo State Government into the state, under the guise of public private partnership with Michelin Rubber Company.
Fears had gripped residents of the agrarian community of Umutu in Ukwuani Local Government Area of the state when information filtered in that authorities of Edo State Government have allegedly annexed part of their farmland for commercial purpose in partnership with Michelin.
As a result of the anxiety over possible breakdown of law and order, the member representing Ukwuani constituency at the House, Mr. Alphonsus Ojo brought the issue to the knowledge of his colleagues under matters of urgent public importance during plenary.
He had shortly after briefing the House, moved a motion for the resolution which was seconded by Mr. Reuben Izeze who represents Ughelli South constituency before the House unanimously endorsed it.
Ojo had told his colleagues that urgent intervention of the state government was needed to sustain the relative peace in the area.
He noted that the major occupation in Umutu community is subsistence farming, stressing that any attempt to occupy the farmlands will naturally be resisted by the people as their source of livelihood was being taken away.
The lawmaker recalled that in 1912 under the then Central Province, part of the land in question was leased out to a company operating in the locality, disclosing that the land was re-occupied by the community when the company folded up after years of operation.
He said following issues raised as a result of the re-occupation, a joint consultative meeting between the then military administrators and other officials of Edo and Delta state governments was held on the 27 and 28 of April 1995 which also had in attendance officials of the National Boundaries Commission.
He said communique issued at the end of that meeting clearly stated that the land belongs to the Umutu community.
Referring to the relevant sessions of the constitution of Nigeria, Ojo reminded the House of its responsibility to make laws for peace, good governance and security of lives and properties of the people.