By Anayo Okoli
Umuahia – AbiaÂ Â state government says that the 116 hectares of land acquired in Aba, where multi-million Aba International Industrial Market (ABIIM) is being built, was legally and properly acquired from the community.
The government said that the land was also gazetted in March this year. According to the government, the community from whom the land was acquired, are not complaining because compensation was paid and in good faith, and all other rituals completed.
Governor Theodore Orji had a couple of weeks ago laid the foundation stone of the market estimated to cost over N57 billion. It is being built for leather work makers and traders.
However, shortly after the commencement of work on the site, some people, including corporate bodies like Ibeanu group,Â protested, saying that their portions of land were encroached on. They took the matter to court.
But the government maintained that the land was properly and legally acquired. It said however, that if any person has genuine claim backed with evidence, such person should present it for amicable resolution.
In a jointly statement by the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Prince Emeka Okafor and Commissioner for Land and Survey, Prince Emeka Nwachukwu, and the Chief Executive Officer of Mllat, Dr. Ajike Ukpai, the firm partnering with the government on the project, government expressed willingness to discuss with anybody who has genuine complaint over the land.
The Commissioners explained that the land was not encumbered in any form before it was acquired. According to them, if it was encumbered, it would not have been possible to gazette it and have it signed by the Governor.
â€œThe land was legally acquired, compensation was dully paid and the land was given to Millat. Before the land was acquired, there was no litigation on it. The government acquired the land purposely for ABIIM.
The perimeter fence has been done by the Ministry of Works and plan for the market has been approved. However, if anybody is aggrieved and has evidence, such person should channel his grouse through the appropriate quartersâ€, the Commissioners said.