Avu Mechanic Land; Land Owners, Community Trade Accusations over OCDA Invasion

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Majority of land owners in Avu Mechanic Village, Owerri West LGA of Imo State have raised the alarm alleging that suspected agents of the Owerri Capital Development Authority (OCDA) have invaded their lands.

According to Trumpeta findings, the ownership of the land has over the years caused acrimony between the landlords and tenants as value of the property appreciates far more than the initial selling price.

Information at the disposal of the newspaper also has it that the state government through its agents are making attempt to reverse the ownership of the land against the law which stipulates that a Certificate of Occupancy which was granted to the buyers is valid for the term of 99 years and subject to renewal.

The land owners are accusing some community leaders and youths suspected to have inordinate ambition of allegedly conniving with a claimant, and a Director of Owerri Capital Development Authority (OCDA), to unjustly reverse their ownership of the land.

Trumpeta who was taken to the area reports that fences and buildings were demolished except those belonging to people in the group responsible for the illegal demolition.

One of the elders, who had lived in the community for 52 years, Chief Morgan Moore confided in our correspondent that the government released back the land for mechanic village by the then Secretary to the State Government,  Sir Jude Ejiogu and signed by the Five Man Committee, representing the kindreds in Umuehieta Community,  Avu  Owerri West Local Government Area.

He expressed dismay that few members of the Community connived with the claimant of Attorney to illegally collect lands already sold out by land owners.

One of the clients of the controversial land, Mr.  Emmanuel Eze Aguzie from Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area is worried that the land he bought from Chief Adolphus Okoro in 2016 has been forcefully taken by few community members who brought touts to demolish his fences and other buildings belonging to other tenants.

He pointed out that the main suspect is allegedly calling him to pay Five Hundred Thousand Naira to have his land back.

Another affected land owner, Lucky Okereke Ndubuisi said he bought the property last year from the Secretary of Avu Community, Mr. Ikechukwu, who denied not being involved in recouping back the land.

He allegedly accused General Manager of OCDA for allegedly being part of the land grabbing, hence some percentages will be accrued to her from the land benefits.

The General Manager of OCDA, Mrs Chika when contacted over the phone declined to comment stressing that she was not disposed to speak on the matter at the moment.

A reaction from the Chairman of Landowners Committee for the released land and on behalf of others, Barrister Ndu Richards explained that the information by the claimants was entirely false.

According to him, those parading as landowners or representatives of those that bought land within the released land can better be seen as impostors.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Imo State Government in January 2016, released part of the Old Mechanic Village and south west cemetery west, back to their original owners. The release of the land was with a condition that the land must be well planned, designed and parcellated into plots which will have C of Os, in accordance with Government standard.

“Accordingly, the community landowners and youths met severally and after extensive meetings and consultations selected one Attorney/Developer for the released land who was given the power, mandate and authorization to handle claims survey, designing, creation of roads and comprehensive provision of infrastructure in accordance with the Government release letter.

“Media Publications, Press Releases, Radio Announcements and several town crier notices were used by the land committee to caution landowners and land buyers to wait for the emergence of a master plan from Ministry of-Lands or approval of building plan from OCDA before construction of any structure since the site is within Owerri Capital Territory.

“Unfortunately, some persons without any regard to Government rules and regulations to patiently wait for the emergence of an approved site plan, went into the land and erected fences and structures indiscriminately, most of which fell into road network. By the time a layout plan was released, OCDA had no option than to exercise its development control mandate in order to avoid the site from developing into slum. His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Imo State recently pronounced Avu as an extension of         the State Capital in view of key projects of the State Government now sited within the Mechanic Village vicinity, such as Police Headquarters, Prisons Headquarters, Modern Mechanic Village, New Modern Market and more. Any layout in Avu which is in Owerri capital territory, must be developed according to approved plan.

“The appointed Attorney/Developer has since 2016, diligently, transparently and honestly conducted affairs regarding the released land in constant meetings with the landowners and the entire youths. He has commenced full developments of infrastructure at the site and has done absolutely nothing wrong to warrant any form of disrespect, accusation or allegation.

“The land committee and landowners have been duly briefed by the Attorney and all those who bought land at the released land and submitted their Power of Attorney are all given allocation except those with forged documents. The balances are then shared to the landowners in proportion for their land holding.

“Speaking also, the Attorney/Developer Dr J.P.K Anyanwu said, “The promotion of negative reports in the media is totally unnecessary and uncalled for, as there is nothing to fear by anybody who has land or bought land at the released land. It is only those who were warned not to erect structure and asked to wait for the site plan to come out but refused, that have case with OCDA and not the Attorney/developer.

“About 89 plots fell into the big Western Tangental road in the Owerri master plan and various internal road network. These persons must be compensated and a token was agreed to be contributed by everybody who got land, just to compensate those that their land fell into roads.

“A joint committee made up of landowners and land buyers have been constituted to look into the proposals of the Attorney for inputs and ratification.

“The general public is therefore advised to disregard any negative information being promoted by these disgruntled elements and contact the land committee or any of the signatures to this announcement for authentic information on the released land”.