Women from Umueri in the Anambra East council area took to the streets on Monday to protest the forceful takeover of their land by the state government under the pretext of building an airport.
The Women who stripped half-naked accused Governor Wille Obiano and his administration of land grabbing for personal gain.
They marched round the airport premises, set up bonfires on the airport road as they chanted sorrowful songs.
They vowed to resist attempts to take away their children’s inheritance.
Uchenna Ndumanya, the chairman of the community described the development as unfortunate and wicked, Daily Post reports.
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“We are the people of Ifite Umueri. We are the people that donated airport land to the Anambra State Government during the Dr Chris Ngige regime, about 14 years ago.
“When we donated the land we gave them about 729.66 hectares but now they have left that particular place we donated to them and just encroached into our individual land.
“They are now encroaching into about 1901 hectares, about three times of what we gave to the state government. We had our first protest on the matter in 2019. And since then nothing has been done.
“We have petitioned to the Commissioner of Police, the Directorate of State Service, nothing has happened. We have gone to the governor’s office; gone to SSG’s office. Day-by-day, they are building on the land with impunity; sharing the land amongst themselves. And the particular place we gave them, they left it and nothing has been done there.
“We are here to let the world hear our cry because all our efforts had been scuttled. The governor is from Aguleri, the Commissioner for Works is from Aguleri; the Chief of Staff is from Aguleri, virtually every top government official in the state is from Aguleri.”
Ndumanya said, if the government was allowed to have it way on the matter, no fewer than 300 building in the community would have been demolished.
He said, “The airport work is going on but not on the land we originally gave the government. They have rather shared the original land we gave them amongst themselves and encroached into our individual land to build the airport. The implication is that Aguleri has succeeded in relocating Umueri from our ancestral and original place. We don’t want the airport again. We can’t be displaced because of the airport. We thought the airport will bring development to our land, we didn’t know they are thinking of another. We will continue this protest by staying for one month on this road. All these houses, schools will be demolished according to their plans for the airport.
“The whole of this community will be displaced if we allow this their evil machinations to work. We won’t allow that to be.”
The leader of the naked protesters, Mrs Ugo Nwakonuche appealed to the governor to leave Agu n’ato land alone, as according to her, the ancestral land is reserved for Umueri as farmland and for the children to build their homesteads.
She pointed out that, in the build-up to the re-election, Obiano approached Umueri, reminding them as neighbours of Aguleri, they should allow him to lay claim to the airport land to substantiate his claim of building a legacy project to shone up performance profile.
Mrs Nwakonuche lamented that Umueri was also made to believe that a link road was only being built, only for the government to start destroying the infrastructure of up to 200.
She declared that, if the government fails to heed the clarion call, the women would move into the site and chase the workers out of the project site.
Accusing the governor of purportedly “waging a war of vengeance on account of what was done to his father,” she pointed out that the Aguleri-born governor has no boundary with Ifite-Umueri, wondering his perceived vested interest to annex the land on the pretext of building an airport.”