Magnus Eze, Enugu
Anekeode and Obangene families of Ibagwa Nike autonomous community of Enugu East, Enugu State, have sent a petition to the Enugu State Governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, over alleged unfair expropriation of their land by their traditional ruler, Igwe Emmanuel Ugwu.
They are alleging that the Igwe is carrying out the act in connivance with the state’s Commissioner for Housing.
The panic message was sent during a peaceful protest on the land at the weekend. They begged the governor to come to their aid.
Leaders from both families, Mr Ngwu Ikenna and Chief Kelvin Okwor, addressing reporters after the protest, explained that the land situated at Ibagwa Nike in Enugu East Local Government was the subject of previous government acquisition.
The families made passionate pleas to the then Government of Enugu State which returned a portion measuring about 99 hectares, back to them.
They complained that their traditional ruler, who should protect their communal interest, decided to allegedly connive with state officials in the Ministry of Housing to balkanise the little portion of the land returned to them for personal and selfish reasons.
They further alleged that their women had been issued an ultimatum to prematurely harvest and uproot their crops and plants on the said land, saying the expropriators intend to level the said piece of land on Monday, May 25th.
While making the appeal, the leaders of the community decried the absence of government investment in their community even after the portions of land the state government had earlier taken from them.
‘Schools, hospitals or other developmental projects were never sited in our community, only to take over our land again for private use,’ the leaders said.
Enugu State Commissioner for Housing, Vitus Okechi, respond calls placed to his phone as of the time of this report.