Enugu Centenary City Land Dispute: Nwobodo Blasts Ex-Governor ChimeFeatured, Latest News, News Across Nigeria, News From The State Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020
From Ignatius Okpara, Enugu
(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Ex-Governor of Old Anambra State, Senator Jim Nwobodo, has broken his silence on the alleged illegal acquisition of about 1097 hectares of ancestral land belonging to Amechi and Obeagu communities in Enugu South council Area by the administration of former governor of the state, Barrister Sullivan Chime, who used it for the development of a multi-billion naira private estates, called “Centenary city”.
Nwobodo, who briefed newsmen on the issue at his Amechi country home, appealed to Enugu State Government and other estate developers involved in the said land scandal to hands off and allow the two communities who are the real owners to take possession of what belongs to them.
According to him, the land which was converted to a sprawling multi billion naira estate, by the government of ex- governor Chime, but was recently revoked by the administration of incumbent Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, was originally acquired by him (Nwobodo) as governor more than 40 years ago.
He explained that the land was originally acquired by his administration for the building of the permanent site of the then Anambra State University of Science and Technology (ASUTEC), a plan which did not come to pass.
Nwobodo, spoke when members and leaders of the two communities came to inform him of their earlier peaceful demonstration in support of Ugwuanyi’s decision to revoke the land.
He said when he acquired the land, the size was 318 hectares, but expressed surprise that subsequent administrations illegally expanded the size of the land to 1,097 hectares.
The elder statesman added that he tried during his time but could not complete the process of acquisition and development of the permanent site of ASUTECH before the change of government in October of 1983. “Some years later, Governor Chimaroke Nnamani fulfilled that dream by relocating the University which now Enugu state university of science Technology ESUTH to Agbani.
“It is indeed painful to realise that the land initially meant for that project is the subject of this protest,” stressing that his investigation revealed that inconsistencies and contradictions in the documents being paraded by those who claimed to have acquired the land, was suggesting that such documents might have been forged.
“Any acquisition, title, action, agreement, and or Certificate of Occupancy over the land made and or predicated on the Anambra State of Nigeria Official Gazette N0. 12. II of 27th March, 1986 and the purported 1985 Enugu State University of Science and Technology (PLAN EN (A) 594) when Enugu State was not in existence is invalid, null and void”.
Nwobodo, who once represented Enugu East senatorial district, however, cautioned current governors and political office holders across Nigeria against using their positions of authority to force fully acquire people’s land and amassing wealth meant for the development of the society but to ensure the welfare of the people through building of industries and creation of job opportunities for the youth.
“This land thing is a very serious matter that should not be joked about, it is not politics. There are people whose parents, grandparents are buried in this land and you come and take their land without telling them on the guise of building a centenary city.
“What manner of centenary city? It is not fair. I gave out only 318 hectares and you have now increased it to 1097 hectares. It is bad,” he stated.
However, the two communities had accused former governor Chime, of using a private estate developer, which he has interest known as private Estate international West Africa to forcefully acquire the said land where they built a multi bullion naira estate without the consent of the people.
African Examiner reports that the people of Amechi and Obeagu communities had earlier staged a peaceful protest to the Government House and State House of Assembly to expressed their appreciations to the state government for revoking the “fraudulent” Certificate of Occupancy C of O of the land, which they claimed belonged to them.
They appealed to the state government to further make a pronouncement that the land be reverted to the communities as owners, saying the land remains their cultural heritage.
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