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Communities protest ‘land grab by government’ in Imo

Communities protest ‘land grab by government’ in Imo
November 22
21:13 2023

Residents of Amaraku and Amano Anara autonomous communities, in Isiala Mbano LGA of Imo, have protested the alleged grabbing of their ancestral land by the state government.

The protesters obstructed contractors from accessing a site at old Amaraku power development service (PDS).

The protesters were mostly women and widows who wielded placards bearing various inscriptions.

They appealed to Hope Uzodinma, Imo state governor, and government agents to immediately “stop the destruction of crops and economic trees”.

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They also warned that the development may cause mayhem in the area if nothing is urgently done.

Edna Diwe, the women leader of Amano Anara autonomous community, said the remaining portion of their lands had been forcefully excised by the Imo state government.

She added that the government left the portions given to them and trespassed to the area they use for farming.

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“We will never fold our arms and watch our ancestral land taken away from us,” Diwe said.

“For whatever reason the land is being taken away from us, we are saying no to it because this is the only place we do our cultivation and farming.”

Raymond Ugorji, a landowner, described the government’s action as intimidation.

“They woke up this morning and saw some earth moving equipment in the farmlands which drew their attention to embark on this peaceful protest,” Ugorji said.

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“We are doing this to fish out those perpetrators of this act.

“Sometime in 2019, when the government of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha initiated the construction of stadium in Isiala Mbano LGA and sited it here, we also protested and the government brought their agents and developers for talks.

“That talk was in progress before the supreme court removed him from office.

“Now Uzodinma’s government has come in, they want to forcefully grab it from us.

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“All we are saying is that the government should follow legitimate steps and stages which are necessary for both the vendor and purchaser to avoid compromise.”

Love Ineh, Imo state commissioner for housing, said the land was acquired during the administration of Sam Mbakwe, a former Imo governor.

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Ineh said the land was earmarked as a housing estate for low-income earners.

She added that the government is yet to get the list of the real owners of the land for proper compensation and discussion.

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“Government had sited housing estates for the low-income earners in the three senatorial zones including Isiala-Mbano in Okigwe zone, Oru-west in Orlu zone and Nekede in Owerri,” Ineh said.

“I am heading the committee.

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“We have met with the Isiala Mbano Local Government sole administrator Hon. Geofrank Ijezie and other traditional rulers from Okigwe zone.

“The land in question was acquired during the days of the former governor Sam Mbakwe.

“But government is yet to get the list of the real owners of the land for proper discussion and compensation.”

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