The people of Ogui Nike in Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu state have rejected the State government committee on Ugwuaji land disputes, stressing that the land is also in dispute between Ogui and Awkunanaw communities which still is pending in an Enugu High Court.
The state government had on August 28, 2020 constituted a six-man administrative panel of Inquiry into the disputed land in Ugwuaji community, in Enugu South Local Government Area of the state.
The government had in statement issued by Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Simon Ortuanya, appointed Chief James Ikeyi, SAN, as Chairman of the panel and warned communities laying claims to the parcels of the land in dispute to cease until the until the panel conclude their investigation.
But addressing journalists on Thursday in Enugu, Chief Philip Alum, an elder of Ogui Nike Community who spoke on behalf of the community, said that his people have been wounded and pushed to untold hardship following the taking over of their ancestral land by successive administrations of Eastern region, East Central state, old Anambra State old and the present Enugu States.
Alum expressed dismay that government veered off the direction to settle the subsisting boundary questions between Ogui Nike and Awkunanaw communities to set up a one sided Administrative committee to determine an issue that is before a court of competent jurisdiction.
While said that government cannot disobey it’s own law’s without recourse to due process, he insisted that an existing gazette by government where the said land was formally ceded back to Ogui cannot be upturn by the same government without any process as is in the present circumstance where the State Ministry of Housing is already removing beacons approved by the same government and planting new ones, destroying properties of legitimate investors thereby infringing on the titles the same government issued to the owners and investors.
Alum further faulted the state government position on the said land, that the government had taken over that land through the ministry of Housing without agreeing with the contending parties in the matter even while there’s a pending matter in court in respect to the land
Alum asked, “where will our children and grandchildren, etc, reside and earn a living through our subsistence farming if government takes over all our land? We have no other place to go and as such government should leave our land for us.
“I hereby ask, is government not a continuum? How can this administration take away what was duly given back to us by government after observing that there’s no other place left for us and our children. Or do they want our community to go into extinction”.
He recalled that the women of Ogui community had in February 2020 protested against the taking away of their farm land by government and called on the state government to implement the existing technical report on the boundary between Enugu North and South Local Government Areas which remains the boundary between Ogui Nike and Awkunanaw communities.
“We call on government to allow the court to adjudicate on the matter in order to protect and uphold the rule of law or alternatively look critically into the matter without prejudice to resolve the boundary dispute out of court once and for all.