WARRIâ€”HUNDREDS of Okpe women and youths from Ughoton village in Okpe council area of Delta State yesterday protested the acquisition of over 150 acres of their community farmland without adequate compensation by the state government even as they accused the community leadership of collecting gratification of N10million.
The state government allegedly acquired the massive farmland for the building of the state Independent Power Project according to sources.
The placard-carrying women and youths led by Mrs. Grace Akpajovwho and Mrs. Grace Akpomeyoma, who came in four 18-seater buses fully loaded and countless motor bikes (okada) told Vanguard that the land was too much by all standard and that the community leaders concealed the land deal from the women because they allegedly got N10 million from the government.
They said their farm is the only means of livelihood through which they feed and train their children, adding that even if government wants to build anything on their land, it is the community that would apportion out such land and not the other way round as in this case.
The protesters, who told Vanguard that their leaders had threatened them with police and soldiers on two occasions, said they were asked to proceed to their farm for crop counting purpose to enable them get paid off.
According to Mrs. Grace Akpajovwho, â€œthis time we have all decided not to sell out our land and if they force us out they should be ready for the outcome of their action. We protested against the community leadership yesterday.
Today we have come to the state owned Broadcasting station and from here we shall move to the palace of the Orodje of Okpe kingdom and then the local government councilâ€, she said.
Mrs. Akpoyoma said what they needed in their community were tertiary institutions, state-of-the-art hospital, industries, skills acquisition centres and so on, that would offer them employment opportunities.