Fred Itua, Abuja
Four villages in Ugwuaji Awkunanaw community, Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State, have petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Enugu State government, over alleged forgery, illegal conversion of landed properties and the continued sale of community lands to unsuspecting members of the public.
The four villages, namely: Umunnugwu, Ndiaga, Umunnajingene and Isiagu, in a petition addressed to the zonal head of EFCC in Enugu, urged the anti-graft agency to “unravel all the fraud and the personalities behind the mask in executing this rather condemnable and brazen act of daylight fraud to our detriment.”
In the petition which was signed by Bob T. Ugwu, a palace secretary and others, the affected villagers said the illegal and fraudulent activity has made a caricature of the law as the fraudsters who continually act with impunity as though they can never be made to account for their action.
They accused a high ranking civil servant in the state’s Ministry of Housing. They said the civil servant who is performing the role of a commissioner in the absence of a substantive one has been hijacked by a syndicate on the prowl, forging papers and unlawfully acquiring lands belonging to the villages.
Part of the petition reads: “Our findings revealed, to our utter consternation, that they have even gone beyond the mere acquisition of a fake power of attorney, to, with the aid of equally fraudulent and corrupt officials of Enugu States Ministry of Lands, fraudulently and illegally register and acquire approval for the development of layouts within existing layouts which have been ab initio duly surveyed and registered.
“This is beyond bailing, as the ethos of survey and town planning strongly disagree with such fraudulent conduct. We are visibly perturbed by the magnitude of gigantic fraud perpetuated by these individuals and their cohorts who have clearly perfected the art of corruption.
“The aforementioned individuals and their paymasters have continued to sell our land with fraudulent titles, defrauding unsuspecting buyers of their hard-earned resources in the process.”
In another letter addressed to the Commissioner of Housing in Enugu State, the villagers called on state officials involved in alleged planned acquisition of their ancestral lands for any purpose to put an end to it.
The letter signed by the same leaders, reads: “The individuals, who we gather, have connived to initiate a partnership for the development of a portion of our land with you, do not possess the locus standi to initiate such. The said portions of land do not belong to them, neither do they possess the power of attorney to transact on behalf of the community.
“You may, therefore, have been misled into believing that those portions of our land are available for your development, at this time. As in the judgment delivered by the wise King Solomon of Bible times, these individuals may just have been trying to have you kill a living child because they rolled over and destroyed theirs at midnight.”