Septuagenarian lament threat to life over land dispute in Rivers

Chief Lawson Anele Chukwucheta

From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt

Chief Lawson Anele Chukwucheta, of Oro-Owo village in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, has raised the alarm of threat to live over alleged land disputes between him and his kinsmen.

The 70 years old man lamented that some influential personnel in his community are planning to eliminate him over demand for his about 36 plots of land they forcefully took from him.

He mentioned that the land grabbers allegedly sold parts of the plots to a multinational oil firm, Nigerian Agip Oil Company, operating in the area and a government health institution in the area.

Chief Chukwucheta who spoke with journalists on the development in Port Harcourt, disclosed that since the existence of the land (over 150 years ago), till he inherited it from his late father, ownership of the property had never been contested.

He alleged that the accused people, connived with the oil firm, to make life miserable for him and his household by preventing them from taking ownership of the plots of land.

The septuagenarian disclosed that over years he has taken refuge in a neighbouring community to save his life and family from the land grabbers, who chased allegedly chase him away from his ancestral land.

Chukweucheta further disclosed court ordered documents which ordered some individuals who claimed ownership of the land to keep off the property.

He said every effort by the court, police and government to make the land grabbers obey the order proved abortive, as they allegedly continue to sell the lands.

He said he had petitioned the presidency and Inspector General of Police through his counsel, Collins Dike, to prevail on the people, have not received response.

According to Chief Chukweucheta: “The invitation from the office of the Inspector General of Police Monitoring Team to these land grabbers and their collaborators was never honoured.

“I, therefore, plead with you to help me tell the world, that land grabbers are making life miserable for the owners, boasting that even though they disobey court orders and police invitations, nothing will happen to them.”

However, the septuagenarian called on the federal and state governments, as well as the international community to come to his rescue following series of life threatening calls and messages he had received concerning his property.

“I am calling on the Federal and State governments, international community and Human Rights groups to prevail on the matter. I am crying out because of the desperation they have shown and my life is being threatened. The land grabbers are making like miserable for the owners, boasting that even though they disobey court orders and police invitation nothing will happen to them”, he pleaded.

One of the persons fingered in the alleged land grabbing by Chief Chukwucheta, said the allegation was not true.

Defending, Chief Tony Gboms said, the land in question is the property of Rumueme kingdom which has been acquired by the Rivets state government, with Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) issued to everyone that has property there.

He said: “Even if we are not happy with the government for doing that, but those who have one property there or the other are those that the state government gave C of O and allocation to. It is not even me or anybody he is mentioning his name in this matter that gave out portions to people, but the state government.

“As a matter of fact, Lawson had an elder brother though now late, but he never dragged that property or claimed that it his his family land or anything of such.

“I have no hand in that land, I am not a land grabber neither have I used anybody to grab anyland for me, I am a politician, a philanthropist and a chief in my community Rumueme.” he said.

Speaking further, Chief Gboms disclosed that the calibre of people who own property in the place are former governors, who sold out their plots to companies and individuals and issued C of O to them.

He challenged Chukwucheta to sue Nigerian Agip Oil Company(NAOC), and join all of the people he is accusing of taking his land and that they would come and defend themselves at the court.

He noted that it was a deliberate act by Chukwucheta to smear his hard earned reputation, adding that “as a chief of Rumueme kingdom, I have resisted, and other chiefs and indigenes have resisted his ugly moves to bring our kingdom to disrepute by going about to destroy, demolish peoples’ houses, built and being occupied for over 15 years now on account of a magistrate court judgement on a community property he is laying claims on.” he insisted.

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