Hundreds of women from Umueri in the Anambra East Local Government Area on Monday protested alleged land grabbing by the state government on the claims of building an airport for the state.
The protesters who marched round the airport premises almost naked, accused governor Willie Obiano and government officials of partitioning their land for their selfish gain and other unprintable allegations.
They chanted solidarity songs and made bonfires on the airport road, vowing to resist any attempt by the government and its agents to deprived their children of their inheritance.
Addressing newsmen on behalf of the protesters, Chairman of community, Uchenna Ndumanya described the development as unfortunate.
He said no fewer than 300 building in the community would be demolished if government was allowed to have it way on the land issue.
He said, “We are the people of Ifite Umueri. We are the people that donated airport land to the Anambra State Government during the Dr Chris Ngige regime, about 14 years ago.
“When we donated the land we gave them about 729.66 hectares but now they have left that particular place we donated to them and just encroached into our individual land.
“They are now encroaching into about about 1901 hectares, about three times of what we gave them. We had our first protest on the matter in 2019. And since then nothing has been done.
“We’ve petitioned to the Commissioner of Police, the Directorate of State Service, nothing has happened. We’ve gone to governor’s office; gone to SSG’s office. Day-by-day ,they are building on the land with impunity; sharing the land amongst themselves. And the particular place we gave them, they left it – nothing has been done there.
He added,”We are here to let the world hear our cry because all our efforts had been scuttled. The governor is from Aguleri, the Commissioner for Works is from Aguleri; the Chief of Staff is from Aguleri, virtually every top government official is from Aguleri.
“When you are explaining those things to them, it looks like speaking to deaf ears beacuse they’re our age long rivals.
“They want to turn us as refugees in our community; but we can’t be turn to Internally Displaced Persons in our own land because of airport.
“The airport work is going on but not on the land we originally gave them. They have rather shared the original land we gave them amongst themselves and encroached into our individual land to build the airport. The implication is that Aguleri has succeeded in relocating Umueri from our original place.
“We don’t want the airport again. We can’t be displaced because of the airport. We thought the airport will bring development to our land, we didn’t know they are thinking of another.
“We will continue this protest by staying for one month on this road. All these houses, schools will be demolished according to their plans for the airport.
“The whole of this community will be displaced if we allow this their evil machinations to work. We won’t allow that to be.
The Commissioner for Works, Marcel Ihejiofor, when contacted on the telephone, said he could not speak on the matter.
“I’m in an exco meeting. I can’t make any comments on that now,” he said.