New Telegraph

Enugu community rejects Ugwuanyi’s land panel, says matter subjudice

Residents of Ogui Nike in Enugu North Local Government of Enugu State have rejected Administrative Panel of Inquiry set up by the state government to look into a disputed land in Ugwuaji community. The residents, who were party to the land dispute, said they were rejecting the panel as the land in dispute which was also between Ogui Nike and Awkunanaw commu-nities was still a subject of litigation in an Enugu High Court. Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had inaugurated the recently constituted six-man Administrative Panel of Inquiry into Ugwuaji land dispute in Enugu South Local Government Area of the state.

Inaugurating the panel, being chaired by Chief James Ikeyi (SAN), Ugwuanyi, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Simon Uchenna Ortuanya, stated that the decision was in keeping with the unflinching commitment of the state government to sustain enduring peace in the state for political and socioeconomic development to continue to thrive. Dissatisfied, an elder of Ogui Nike Community, Chief Philip Alum, who spoke to journalists in Enugu yesterday on behalf of the community said that his people had suffered untold hardship following the takeover of their ancestral land by successive administrations of eastern region, East Central state, old Anambra State old and the present Enugu State.

The Enugu State Government had on August 28, constituted a six-man Administrative Panel of Inquiry into the disputed land in Ugwuaji community in Enugu South Local Government Area of the state. In a statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Simon Ortuanya, the panel which had Chief James Ikeyi (SAN) as Chairman, was to establish the true ownership of the land in dispute as well as ascertain the entire area of disputed land. Spokesperson of Ogui Nike community, Alum expressed dismay that government veered off the direction to settle the subsisting boundary questions between Ogui Nike and Awkunanaw communities to set up a one sided Administrative committee to determine an issue that was before a court of competent jurisdiction.

Alum, who said that government would not disobey its own laws without recourse to due process, insisted that an existing gazette by government whereby the said land was formally ceded back to Ogui would not be upturned by the same government without any process as was in the present circumstance. Alum said: “Where will our children and grandchildren, etc, reside and earn a living through our subsistence farming if government takes over all our land? We have no other place to go and as such government should leave our land for us. “I hereby ask, is government not a continuum? How can this administration take away what was duly given back to us by government after observing that there’s no other place left for us and our children. Or do they want our community to go into extinction?”

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