Nkwelle Community in Awka-South Local Government Area of Anambra State has protested the acquisition of a wide expanse of land at the Agu-Nkwelle Greenwood Estate, for the construction of a new Government House, threatening to stop work on the project.
The community, in a statement dated November 25, 2015, vowed to stop further development of the land until “proper acquisition is made by the state government”.
The statement was signed on behalf of the community by its chairman, Kingsley Nwosu, secretary, Emeka Oyeoka, legal adviser, Akonam Ogbonna, Public Relations Officer, Ignatius Ikeh as well as chairman of the land committee, Stephen Nwosu.
The demonstrators carried a coffin with placards which had inscriptions such as, “Forceful entry into our land; a breach of our fundamental right”, “We are not against development, but let it be done according to the law” among others.
Mr. Nwosu accused the state government of moving into the land without paying compensation. He alleged that some officials in the Ministry of Land took the decision without any recourse to their traditional head, representatives or community leaders.
When our correspondent approached the contracting firm handling the project for comment, its Administrative Head, Mr. Clifford Onah Ojie, said they had nothing to do with the protesters. He said the company entered into contract with the state government to complete the project and advised the protesters to take their grievances to the Ministry of Lands.
The state Commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr Uju Nworgu, hailed the people for conducting themselves peacefully and assured that the matter would be looked into by the government.
In his reaction, the Director of Lands, Barrister Iguh, said government could not have taken over the community’s land without consultation with the elders and leaders. He advised the protesters to present the matter formally for proper attention.