The Umueri community in Anambra East Local Government Area has appealed to the Anambra State government to release certain portions of land, which had been donated to the government for the construction of a cargo airport, for agricultural production.
While speaking with journalists at his palace in Umueri, Igwe Ben Emeka, the traditional ruler of the Umueri community, said the appeal was meant to enable the community to sustain its agricultural capacity, as the project had yet to fully commence since conception.
“The community’s demand follows a peaceful protest by youths who claim that the state government is attempting to take over their land without any benefits to them.
“We allowed the project to continue because we are excited about it and it will benefit our community.
“However, some people started lamenting that the volume of land taken by the government was too much and that they needed the other sections for farming since they are predominantly farmers,” Emeka said.
The monarch explained that the state government had acquired the land for the airport in parcels A, B, C and D, totaling about 1,901 hectares of land under former governor Peter Obi’s administration, adding that the current administration of Obiano only succeeded in paying for parcels A and B, which represent about 760 hectares. Even still, the project on parcels C and D has commenced without compensation.
According to Emeka, since the land taken by government is more than enough for the project, compensation for the remaining parcels should not be paid. Instead, he says, the land should be returned to the community.
He urged his people to exercise restraint and allow community leaders to dialogue with the government in order to amicably resolve the issue.