Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
Ebonyi State Government yesterday said the recent judgement of the Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki, the capital of Ebonyi State, on the lawful acquisition of the lands for the ongoing airport project at Ezza North area of the state has vindicated it and completely absolved the governor of all the allegations of abuse of due process and rule of law leveled against it by the opposition elements in the state.
The Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the state, Mr. Cletus Ofoke, stated this in joint press briefing with the Commissioner for Lands, Chief Moses Oshibe, in Abakaliki.
Daily Sun gathered that the Federal High Court in Abakaliki recently dismissed the petition instituted against the airport by some persons whose lands and property were demolished by the government to pave way for the construction of the airport.
The petitioners had told the court that their lands were forcefully acquired and properties and economic trees demolished by the state government without any compensation, and prayed the court for an injunction restraining the government from proceeding with the project without adequately compensating them. But the Attorney General of the state, while briefing journalists, said government had earlier held meetings with the families and persons whose land and properties fall within the project site alongside their stakeholders and jointly agreed on the amount of compensation to be paid to them before commencement of works at the site.
Ofoke added that the compensation was being paid by the government before some persons he said were working for opposition elements took the government to court to stop the project.
He disclosed that the Ministry of Lands has gazetted over 430 persons for compensation and urged those who have not collected their compensation to go the ministry’s office to access their own.
“You are aware that some disgruntled elements sponsored by the opposition elements in the state took Ebonyi State government to court upon the commencement of activities at the project site.
And one of the issued canvassed by the undesirable elements is that there was no compensation and that their parcels of land were acquired compulsorily by Ebonyi State government without recourse to due process and rule of law.