By Tony Edike
ENUGU Ngwo community in Enugu North local government of Enugu State has accused the state government of violating a court order restraining the government and its agents from entering the land belonging to the community.
The community said despite the subsisting court order from an Enugu High Court made by Justice B. E. Agbatah on March 17, 2009 restraining the government from entering a piece of land opposite the Golf Estate Enugu, the government had continued to trespass on the land.
Legal Adviser to the community, Mr. Obinna Onuigbo, in company of the President General of the community, Mr. Japhet Okwor, made the allegation at a news briefing in Enugu at the weekend.
Onuigbo disclosed that Enugu State government, through the State Ministry of Transport, had allegedly disobeyed the court order and was currently carrying out some construction work on the land.
He pointed out that the court order still subsisted, while the case, which is currently before Justice Obi Eze, would be heard on Tuesday, February 1, 2011.
The community appealed to Governor Sullivan Chime to call his officials to order so that the existing peaceful atmosphere in the community and state would continue uninterrupted.
Onuigbo, who maintained that Chime, who is a lawyer, might not be aware of the flagrant disobedience of the court order, however, asked for urgent intervention by the governor so that the status quo would remain until the matter was dispose of by the court.
The legal adviser also disclosed that there is another pending case at the Federal High Court Enugu restraining the Nigerian Coal Corporation, Bureau for Public Enterprises and Federal Ministry of Solid Mineral from entering the land pending the determination of the case.
Also speaking, President General of the community, Mr. Okwor recalled that in 2009, agents of the Enugu State Government enter the community’s ancestral land and demolished 216 houses that were occupied by natives of Enugu Ngwo.
He lamented that the community is situated on top of a hill and there is shortage of land as the community has one of the largest population in the state and there have no other land to lay claim on except the one in contention.
Okwor said the recent construction work going on in the disputed land has created tension in the area as the is a mounting air of restiveness among the natives; and lamented that since the houses were demolished government has not pay compensation or meet with the community.
He explained that the land was ceded to the coal corporation in 1909 when mining of coal started in the area and when the corporation abandoned the coal mines the community took over its line.
The President General insisted that the community and its people are the real owners of the land as they have reversional rights in the event that the coal corporation was no longer producing in the area