By Anayo Okoli
ENUGU — THE controversy over the ownership of the disputed portion of land at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu, took another twist Tuesday when the family of late Igwe D. O. Eneh from Udi laid claim to the land.
Last week, Arch J. J., armed with a court order, demolished some building in that portion of land, including part of the perimeter fence of the airport, an action that drew the anger of both the Federal Government and Enugu State Government.
But on Tuesday, the family of the late traditional ruler of Udi, Enugu State, Igwe D. O. Eneh, armed with documents, some dated as far back as 1965 to claim ownership of the disputed land, saying that their late father acquired the land from Emene and Umuchigbo Nike, Enugu East council and dismissed Emejulu’s ownership claim on the land.
Briefing journalists, two members of the family, Dr. George Eneh and Gary Eneh, flanked by their family lawyer, Ifeanyi Udenze, said they came “to clear the air on the drama at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu”, and described Emejulu’s ownership claim to the land as “fraud and should be investigated”.
According to them, their late father acquired more than 300 acres of land from both Emene and Umuchigbo, Nike communities, and separately entered into a memorandum of understanding, MOU, in 1958 and 1965, respectively. They quoted a 1974 gazette where it is recorded, saying that Emejulu has no title to prove that the land belongs to him.
The Eneh family said that they have been negotiating with the relevant authorities over the use of the land as a free trade zone before the claim by Emejulu, who they accused of working with a prominent traditional ruler in Nike, Enugu, to encroach on their family land.
They said that they have written to both the Federal and State governments over the matter, insisting that “Emejulu’s claim over the land is being challenged vigorously and variously”, ownership claim they dismissed as “a fraud that ought to be investigated”
In a letter written to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi over the disputed land, Eneh family, through their lawyer said that “Mr. Emejulu is not the only person in court in respect of the trade free zone. My client, the estate of G.O.D. Eneh is before the Enugu State High in Court in Suit No. E.\90\2019 on the same subject matter (free trade zone).
They told the Governor in the letter that “Mr. Emejulu’s the High Court judgment is fraught with lies and bad faith and will be set aside” and insisted that they remain “the beneficial owners of the land by proper conveyancing commencing with a title registered after acquisition on November 4, 1958, no less than 50 clear years ahead of Emejulu’s purported intrusion into the area.
They said that further that, “this title and registration were subsequently consolidated by a Government Gazette covering the area known as Akanu Ibiam International Airport since 1965”.
An effort to get Emejulu’s side was unsuccessful as his number available to this reporter was not going through.