Delta community accuses state commissioner of land grabbing

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Landowners in Fountain City in Umuodafe community of Ibusa, Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State, have accused the state Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Mrs Kate Onianwa, of grabbing their lands.

The landowners made the allegation in a protest on Saturday at the site of the land measuring over 200 hectares

Speaking on behalf of the placard-bearing protesters, Mr Owen Ebubechukwu said the lands were properly acquired following an advert for their sales by Umuodafe community.

Ebubechukwu said the property was properly surveyed, mapped out and investigated, adding that there was no sign of government presence or interest before the buyers started developing their respective plots.

He said they were shocked when earth-moving equipment were deployed to pull down their buildings and fences on the orders of the commissioner.

Ebubechukwu alleged that the development was a ploy to “rustle, grab and take away our land legitimately bought from Umuodafe community.”

In a swift reaction, Mrs Onianwa denied the allegation of land grabbing, saying that the said land was acquired by the government a long time ago.

She said the government recently decided to use the land for overriding public interest, adding that the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration was magnanimous enough to give some portion to the community which is expected to be given back to the buyers.

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Regardless, the protesting landowners appealed to the governor to call the commissioner to order, claiming that she was dragging the government into the mud.

“We are asking Governor Okowa to tell Oniawa to leave our land alone. If they want land, they should come to us who bought it legitimately from Umuodafe.

“We have gone to her office to beg her. She said if the land is de-acquired, everybody’s interest would be protected, but you and I know that things are no longer working in this country. Our system is both down, bad and in a quagmire,” Ebubechukwu said.

Also speaking, Mrs Rose Okolie and Mr Akeem Lasisi, said they paid all the required fees to be entitled to their plots, saying however that they were now confused as a result of the recent demolition.

“We are confused. What we are seeing here now is a kangaroo business, the government is not taking any land. We tried to reach Government House but we have not succeeded. We are frustrated, we are not happy,” Lasisi said.

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