By Dennis Agbo
An Internally Displaced Person, IDP, who returned to Enugu from Borno state, Mr Dennis Ngene and other landlords of Ndiaga/Umunugwu layout, Valley layout, promise layout and Jerusalem layout all in Ugwuaji-Awkunanwu Enugu State, have pleaded with Enugu state government to return their plots of land dispossessed of them to establish the New Enugu Housing Estate.
Ngene was among the affected landlords who in a press briefing, yesterday, lamented that whereas their houses and fences were pulled down, security agents have been used to ward them off from accessing the area.
They also noted that even though they were aware of the panel of Inquiry set up by the state government over Ugwuaji land dispute, they maintained that what is obtained was government interference on their land.
Ngene lamented that he sold all he had to run away from Boko Haram insurgency in Borno state but has become another Internally Displaced Person in Enugu state.
Ngene said “I am an IDP from Borno state. l lived there for 27 years and when crisis started, I ran back home I sold off all my property in Borno state to acquire the land from a company. The Ugwuaji youths came and demanded different levies and I paid all.
“I had fenced my 10 plots before it was pulled down. It’s not good that I ran away from Borno state and came down to my state, only to be relieved of my property.
“I beg that my property should be returned to me because it had no encumbrances when I bought it. I beg the government to please return my land back to me.”
Another landlord, Mr Anayo Philip said that they were surprised to discover that everything they laboured to put on the ground were demolished overnight.
“Some of us took loans to buy these properties. We are servicing the loans but where is the property? Some of us are pensioners and some others are displaced indigenes from the North East seeking where to put their heads.
“How do you sell your vegetables and your palm oil to buy land in a community and everything is cleared overnight. We understand that the commissioner for Housing facilitated this entire destruction.
“We cannot reach the Governor ourselves. Mr Governor, please, hear our cry and don’t let our suffering come to ruin. This is an SOS call our dear Governor. Please, in the name of the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob and the awesome God of David, please and please help us,” Philip prayed.
A native of Ugwuaji, Comrade Okechukwu Egbo lamented that the old land dispute Ugwuaji and Ogui-Nike communities was resolved by the state high court, only for the state government to turn around to annex the land he said he inherited from his father.
“We are aware of the Panel of Inquiry on what they said was Ugwuaji land dispute, but there is no land dispute in Ugwuaji, what we have is government interference on the land and so any panel to be set up should be peace panel,” Egbo said.