By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu and Covenant Oluchi Ikedinobi
Umuneri Village Assembly, Isu – Aniocha, Youth wing yesterday demanded from the Anambra state Government the valid acquisition papers and agreement, it used in acquiring 118 plots of their communal lands in order to put to rest the lingering crisis between its agent, the Housing Development Corporation, Awka, and their village leadership.
The youths led by their Chairman, Mr Uchenna Eziamaka said the youths became worried over the incessant harassment and bullying against their parents by thugs and security agents from Housing Corporation, and decided to resolve all the crises over the land in one swoop, if the acquisition papers and agreement entered into by Housing Corporation with their elders are presented.
The Umuneri Village Youths made their stand known to newsmen after an emergency meeting in response to publications by the Housing Development , Awka in the media that 118 plots were validly acquired from Umuneri Village Isu-Aniocha in 2014/2015 with compensation paid.
The youths insisted that the crisis will stop immediately if Housing Development Corporation led by it’s Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Arc. Willie Okafor shows Umuneri youth the valid acquisition papers and agreement of acquisition as they will specifically police the land against their people.
They specifically appealed to Governor Willie Obiano to ensure peace is restored to Umuneri Village Isu-Aniocha as he did with the Community Secondary school Isu- Aniocha land.
The Youths however warned that if after 2 weeks these valid acquisition papers and agreement are not shown to the youths, the youths will join forces with their leadership and elders to fight encroachers of their communal land with whatever it takes.
They wondered why rather than follow due process of government land acquisition, Arc. Willie Okafor was intimidating their elders and Village leadership with Government apparatus, and allegedly lying against the village for his pecuniary interests.
They said it will be a child’s play for them to recover their land invaded by Ezinano Village Awka with tacit support of Housing Development Corporation if after 2 weeks Housing Corporation did not present acquisition papers and agreement with their Village Assembly.
They warned that Umuneri Village Isu-Aniocha youths will not tolerate further intimidation and harassment of their people over the land as the village has no boundaries with Ezinano Village Awka , adding that it is preposterous for their land to host Green Valley Housing Estate Awka, rather than Isu- Aniocha.
The Youths described as insulting for Arc. Willie Okafor to say in a publication that their land was acquired from Ezinano Village Awka, and warned prospective buyers of land in the estate to run with their money or regret later as no structures will stand on that land without resolution of the issues at stake or presentation of valid acquisition papers and agreement.
The youths insisted that even the 54.72 hectares allegedly planned to be given to Housing Development Corporation by some third party as alluded by their elders spokesperson, Chief Augustine Nwankwo Okafor in the publication by Housing Corporation without the approval of the Umuneri Village Assembly stands null, void and of no effect, if valid acquisition papers and agreement between the government and Umuneri people are not provided within 2 weeks to the youths.
The Youths described Umuneri people as peaceful and loving but would not fold it’s hands and be intimidated by Ezinano Village Awka on their lands, wondering why Housing Corporation Boss allowed himself to be messed up by land grabbers from Awka.
They advised him to ask questions on what happened to others who grabbed their lands in the past before him.
The Youths wondered on why their land should be acquired if at all and rather than be used for public good , are being resold to private individuals at an exorbitant prizes?
The youths said it was strange to them to read that Housing Development Corporation gave the village compensation for their land as it was never discussed at their Umuneri Isu-Aniocha in Assembly and none of them recieved a dime or any projects being executed with such money when they have spent millions on that land, only for it to be destroyed by Housing Corporation for its forceful acquisition.
The youths informed that Umuneri Village has boundaries with Enugu – Agidi which has a valid court judgment against Housing Development Corporation for its encroachment into their land and wondered why Arc Willie Okafor should be referring to Enugu- Agidi as Community they gave compensation.
They reiterated that Umuneri Village has no boundaries with Ezinano Village Awka, referring Housing Corporation to a letter written to him and Governor Willie Obiano among others by Chief Lawrence Ofulume led elders insisting that no land of Umuneri Village was given to anyone or Government.
They asked government through Housing Development Corporation to recover its money to anyone it has given money or visit the Umuneri Village Assembly meeting to inform them who they gave money before the village meeting for the village to hand them over those people.
The youths remanded Arc Okafor that no land is given out without agreement by all groups concerned in the village as no one person or group of persons can hand over the communal lands to government or to racketeers for profiteering.
They concluded that the discussion about the land was fraudulent and therefore cannot stand the test of time.
They queried to know how much the compensation was on 118 plots of land and who they gave the compensation and wondered why Housing Development Corporation wasn’t talking about the N5 Billion demages it caused the village when its bulldozers invaded their land destroying all they laboured for as well as their economic trees and shrines.
They denied knowledge of destroying Government property as they are peacemakers and not trouble makers , even as it admitted that the Community once discussed about giving 35 plots of land for a Housing Estate to Anambra state government ,but were still discussing it as they won’t want their land to be used for profiteering by greedy government officials.