By Chinedu Adonu
ENUGU – PEOPLE of Amaeze Ishiagu community in Ivo local government area of Ebonyi state Tuesday accused their adjoining community – Uru-Lokpanta, in Umuneochi local government area of Abia state – of illegal encroachment on their quarry site.
They also accused the alleged usopers of threatening the lives of their citizens in their desire to unlawfully take over the quarry site.
Speaking to newsmen in Enugu yesterday, the chairman of Amaeze Development Union, Chief Paulinus Osita, also denied the allegation levelled by a certain military personnel said to be on a security mission to the troubled site , that the community had masterminded the killing of a young male indigene of Uru Lokpanta community, on June 16, 2019.
Chief Osita however, appealed to the Federal government to rise to the rescue of his people and as well stop the Uru- Lokpanta people from advancing their campaign of terrormongering and Economic Sabotage.
He stressed that the Ebonyi and Abia state boundaries as originally delineated clearly shows that the quarry site, now under contention, falls within Ebonyi state.
“We address this conference to firstly, dismiss the allegations of brutality by the Nigeria Army, as baseless, unfounded, puerile and provocative. We view the development as claims of a renegade faction of the people of Uru Lokpanta community in Umuneochi Local Government Area of Abia State.
“It has become necessary for us to clear the air on this to ensure that a lie constantly told on a sustained basis does not appear like the truth.
“The site of the granite quarry currently being operated by Yiter Quarry Nigeria Ltd and its environs are exclusively within Amaeze community. This statement of fact is neither novel nor unfounded. This has been the position at all material times since the days of yore until presently. The delineation of the boundaries between Abia State and Ebonyi State further corroborate this fact.
“On the 5th day of February 2003, the Executives of Uru Improvement Union and the Amaeze Development Union, arising from a meeting, jointly issued a memorandum wherein the leaders of Uru-Lokpanta community stated that the land whereon Setraco Nig. Ltd operated its granite quarry belonged exclusively to Amaeze-Ishiagu community”, He explained.
ADU also disclosed that another agreement to cover the portion of Uru Lokpanta land through which access road is constructed into the quarry site between Setraco Nig Ltd and the people of Uru- Lokpanta community was reached at a later date, while the agreement on ownership of the quarry site by Amaeze Ishiagu which is not in doubt were stamped and registered in court.
“On the 25th of October 2008, the agreement was duly executed by officials of Setraco Nig. Ltd and the leaders and the accredited representatives of the Uru-Lokpanta community where it was expressly conceded that the agreement was limited to a section of the access road belonging to Uru-Lokpanta community. It was also stated in the agreement that the quarry site does not belong to Uru-Lokpanta but to Amaeze-Ishiagu. Upon the execution of this agreement, copies of the agreement were stamped, filed and registered at the Magistrates Court of Abia State, Umuneochi on the 27th day of October 2008.
“Uru-Lokpanta community was never at any time, the landlord or lessor to Setraco Nig. Ltd which operated the quarry site for a period of over 2 decades. It is true that Amaeze-Ishiagu community being the undisputed owner and landlord of the quarry site, executed a leasehold agreement with Setraco Nig. Ltd”, He said.
ADU said they are presently worried with the increasing wave of unruly acts their people allegedly suffer at the hands of Uru – Lokpanta Youths. ADU mentioned the case of Mr Paul Ossi, a farmer from the community,whom he alleged was beaten to stuppor in his farm, by youths from Uru- Lokpanta on March 28,with a thought that he has died, but by the grace of God,Mr Ossi miraculosly regained consciousness and was helped out by a good Samaritan.