By Onyeananam Edmund-Victor
Indigenes of Umuejechi, Nekede Ancient Kingdom under the aegis of Umuejechi central Assembly, Owerri west local government area of Imo State have counseled the Imo State Government and land speculators to halt the conversion of former Agriculture Development Corporation (ADC) Senior Staff quarters, behind protea Hotels Owerri, beside the zoo, into residential plots.
In a statement made available to Trumpeta, the community stated that the said former ADC Senior Staff quarters, the Junior Staff quarters. The zoological Gardens, the forestry area, the defunct demonstration farms and the adjoining lands are the bonafide property of the Umuejechi, Nekede people, adding that the said area is not available to be allocated to anybody under condition.
The statement further reads, “the land was leased to the government of the defunct eastern Nigeria in 1956 for a period of 99 years. The lease which still has 36 years to expire was registered as No. 16 at page 16 in volume 45 in the lands registry in the office at Enugu now kept in Owerri. The government of Imo State does not have the right to convert the lands into residential plots and allocate same to individuals or groups. It is even more illegal when the new allocations are for 99 years, much more than the remaining years the said lease has to run”
The community however challenged the usurpation of their right by the Imo State Government in court, adding that members of the community will resist any attempt by anybody to forcefully enter into the land to erect structures.
Umuejechi community also stated, “Anybody who accepts allocation of plots, buys any plot of land or erects structures in the land is taking a calculated risk and should be ready to bear the consequences no matter how unsavory. We further advice and urge the Imo State Government to respect the rights of its citizens, to respect existing agreements, to be more civil in the treatment of its citizens and to stop its dictatorial inclinations as nobody is above the law including the government and its functionaries. Let those who have ears take heed”.