STEVE OKO reports that there is fury in Abia community over government’s failure to pay compensation for land housing ministries, parastatals in the state capital, Umuahia.
The people of Ihie Ndume community in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State seem to have lost their patience with the State Government over the latter’s failure to pay compensation for land housing its various buildings including the new Civil Servants Secretariat. Ndume is one of the major land donors to the New Government Layout at Ogurube where a number of Ministries and parastatals are located.
The locals are worried that years after Government took over their ancestral land for developmental purposes, and buildings erected on them, Government has refused to pay any form of compensation despite promises to that effect . Irked by Government’s reluctance to do the needful youths from the community last week stormed Government House Umuahia to register their grievance.
The youths who carried placards bearing various inscriptions told Government to stop taking their patience for granted. They accused Government of neglecting them. They demanded full and out-right compensation of the affected land.
Apart from compensation the embittered youths also demanded job opportunities/engagement into the State Civil Service. They also accused government of marginalising them in employment offers including political appointments.
Handing over their protest letter to Gov. Onyechi Ikpeazu, the Youth Leader, Ojiabo Ogechi said the community “is currently suffering from acute land shortage ” as the bulk of their ancestral land has been taken over by Government. He said that the compensation if paid would assist them in acquiring land in the neighbouring communities.
He identified some areas occupied by State Ministries to include State Secretariat Complex, Industrial Market, Federal Pay Office and Jack Building plus twelve other ministries and parastatals sited on their lands.
His words : “Our community is the largest land donor in the state, it is disheartening to note that despite these huge investments we made, the community have nothing to show. We are undergoing untold hardship and we can no longer continue to keep quiet hence our protest is for you to help us, he said”.
The Governor represented by his Principal Secretary, Chief Emma Nwabuko thanked the youths for their peaceful comportment, assuring them of prompt action. He noted that their demands were legitimate but pleaded with them to remain calm while efforts were being made to settle their matter.
He also promised that his administration would continue to positively engage youths in the state to give them a sense of belonging and to help harness their potentials.