By Ogbonna Casmir
The aged, youth, children from Umuonovo Nwadine family in Etiti-Ozalla community in Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu state yesterday embarked on a peaceful protest against the unlawful acquisition of their family land by the police without compensation.
The ancestral land in question is situate at Four Corner Junction, along Enugu Port-Harcourt expressway.
They asked that government should stop the police from putting further structures in the land without providing alternative land in addition to paying adequate compensation as prescribed by the law.
The placard reads; “leave our land for us. We don’t have another place to live. We don’t have another land. Don’t dispossesses us of the source of our livelihood. Federal government should come to our aid. It is our ancestral land, leave it alone. Nigeria police don’t take our land forcefully.”
Addressing journalists Chief Francis Chinweonu and Mr. Okoye Chibuike stated that despite petitions to the Inspector General of Police, Police Services Commission, the Attorney General of Federation and Minister for Justice, they have continued to construct more houses in the only land of the family.
Chief Chinweonu said they ran to the media as the voice of the poor and watchdog of the society to help voice their plight to Nigerian public stressing that as it is today their have no land to build houses.
He alleged that their economic trees and cash crops worth over N700 million were destroyed with bulldozer while during clearing the land without compensation.
The Umuonovo Nwadine clan had earlier in a pre-action notice dated 25th of January, 2016 and served on the Inspector General of Police, Police Services Commission, the Attorney General of Federation and Minister for Justice, raised concern that the aggressive manner in which more structures are being put up in land threatens the complete dispossession of their families ancestral land by the defendants without grant of alternative land or adequate compensation as prescribed by the law.
It warned that it would commence litigation/action against the defendants jointly and severally to seek redress for the compulsory acquisition/alienation of their family land without grant of alternative land or compensation/adequate compensation in line with the spirit of the letters of section 44(1) (a) and (b) of 1999 constitution of Nigeria (as amended).
The family noted that in event that the defendants refused to address issues in this petition, it shall claim against the defendants jointly and severally thus;
“A declaration of the court that all that land lying and situate at Four Corner Junction, along the Enugu Port-Harcourt expressway subject matter of which Nigeria police force in partnership with the Palm Brook Manors Enugu Consultant/Developer, the Oak Development Ltd with its partners; the New Prudential Mortgage Bank Ltd are putting up structures and aggressively thinking to put up more structures and are entitled to customary Right of occupancy and should be entitled to the grant of alternative land and the benefit of section 44 (1) of 1999 Constitution of Nigeria requiring adequate compensation.
“Payment of N2 billion only being compensation for compulsory acquisition of plaintiffs families land by the defendants jointly or severally.
“Order for grant of alternative land or forfeiture of the plaintiffs land by the defendants, and up to date information and re-establishment of survey of the plaintiffs land in issue.”