BY FESTUS AHON
UGHELLI—PRESIDENT General of Uvwie Kingdom, Uvwie Local Government Area, Delta State, Chief MacDonald Ugbewanku, has urged the Federal Government to prevail on the Nigerian Army to leave Ohore land for the indigenes, describing the planed demolition of houses in the community by soldiers as mischievous and unfortunate.
Ugbewanku on the recent protest embarked upon by Uvwie women, said the people decided to embark on the protest to ask for justice. “Government usually acquires land for a purpose, the purpose was definite, they wanted to put a Defense Academy, which they did not do.
“What has been put to use is less than 10 percent of the total land acquired. We have been asking government to de-acquire the area since the purpose for which the place was acquired had not been achieved.
“But instead of doing that, we now found that the army has now incorporated a property company and through that they are now selling Ohore land to their cronies. Even we the indigenes are not even privileged to buy.”
An indigene of the community, Chief Jimoh Eshenake on the development, said “about a week ago, the Army came to Ohore and marked all the houses for demolition. In fact, they gave our people 48 hours to move out of their houses that the Army was coming to demolish the place. They told us that their reason was that the land being occupied by the community belong to the army. That it is part of the army acquisition, but I must tell you the story behind it.
“In 1975, that land was acquired for the army by the defunct Mid-Western government, but before 1975, Ohore and other villages around that place had been in existence. The law is very clear on this; you cannot acquire a land where people are already occupying. If there is even a need to occupy it, you must re-allocate them, but this didn’t happen. And somehow our king wrote to the acting President then in March 2010 to complain about this acquisition.
“The truth is that the army acquired over 2,000 hectares of land, and the area they occupied, the army barrack, mammy market is less than 10 percent of the land, but they are now selling it to private companies and individuals. They have turned landlords in our own land. We the original landlords have turned refugees in our own land.
“We are calling on the Federal Government to look into this issue critically because we want to de-acquire those lands because Ohorhe people are farmers, who need enough land for farming. The Federal Government must come to our aide and it must be immediately.”