Nnewi People of Umueri in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State have expressed their frustrations over the alleged conversion of their ancestral land by the state government for its proposed cargo airport.
The community alleged that the state government took about 1,200 hectares of their ancestral land without any compensation to the landowners.
On March 8, hundreds of people from the concerned families, kindred and villages stormed the proposed airport site, as early as 6.30am, and prevented workers from working.
The concerned community insisted that no further work would go on at the site until their grievances were addressed. The people made bonfire on the road leading to the airport site.
They also blocked the Oyi Bridge axis of the Otuocha-Ntej Awkuzu Road, brandishing placards of different inscriptions and chanting songs depicting frustrations and anger.
The protest slowed vehicular movements for about four hours. Most of the protesters were women. Some of them tore their clothes, exposing their chests. Policemen and soldiers were also on ground to ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order.
Some of the inscriptions on their placards read: “We gave 729.606 hectares of land to Anambra government, but they forcibly took additional 1,200 hectares,” “Go back to the 729.606 hectares of land originally gazetted for the airport project,”
“We can’t allow this project to go on if government signs no MOU with our community,”
“Anambra government has taken over our land; where do we farm?” “Are we to become refugees in our own land?”
Spokesman for the protesters, Uchenna Ndumanya, said the three villages collectively gave Anambra State government 729.606 hectares of land for the airport project, for which they were compensated. Ndumanya claimed that the state “grabbed” additional 1,200 hectares of land without consent from or compensation for the owner