Awka – Anambra State Government has been urged to urgently intervene over the land grabbing activities of some youths of Oba in Idemili South Council Area of the state, who parcel out and sell communal lands at the Ose Abosi Area of the town.
The call is coming on the heels of an incident where some members of the community, were harassed and assaulted for visiting the area.
Ose Abosi, a large expanse of swampy land that expanded from Oba into the Ogbaru Area, contains a vast portion of arable farmland and a plantation of Raffia palm.
Over the years, TNC gathered, proceeds from the area had been a major source of livelihood to Oba people, as they farmed and tapped palm wine from the land.
However, in recent times, some individuals have commenced sand-filling of a natural water cause and parceling of parts of the said land, selling them off to developers.
Last year, a youth from the community, identified as Chiedu Nwabuagha, was reportedly lynched over the said land in a video that went viral online.
A native of Oba and Professor of Wireless Communication Engineering and Signal Processing at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Professor Austen Azubogu, who narrated his ugly experience in the hands of some thugs working for the land grabbers, maintained that the town has been hijacked by hoodlums.
Prof. Azubogu who said he was waylaid alongside some of his family members when they recently visited the area, revealed that the thugs had allegedly assaulted them for having the guts to visit the said land which is in fact, communally-owned.
He revealed that they were only able to escape the assault when one of them was able to reach one of the henchmen in charge of the illegality, who directed his boys to allow them go after much pleading.
“What is happening in Oba town with regards to land is quite appalling. It is unfortunate that the community has been hijacked by land grabbers who have parceled communal lands to themselves. The large expanse of land in question is well-known as a place set aside by our fore fathers, for farming purposes. Many notable sons and daughters of the town have been trained through proceeds from the plantation. It is however unfortunate that some youths will wake up one day and start delving into communal land to sell,” he lamented.
Azubogu appealed to the state government not to allow the youths to turn Oba into a war zone through their insistent behavior of selling off communal land and waylaying people who question their illegalities.
According to him, government can quell the problem by engaging security agencies to bring the men fingered in the illegal activities to book to face the law, so as to serve as deterrent to others who may want to tow the same line.
“This kind of situation is something that can cause chaos in the community. If these youths can do this to me with my status, my worry is what they will do to the common Oba indigene who may not have the means to speak up. Government therefore needs to wade into the matter as soon as possible. Names have been mentioned as sponsors of this evil. We also hear of the so-called three wise men who are behind this business. Government should go after them as it appears they are now beyond the reach of the town leadership,” he suggested.
Corroborating the insinuation, the Head of Oba Vigilante Supervisory Committee, Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP Bon Azubuike said the incident was reported to the committee, verbally and in writing.
He regretted that in Oba, just as in most other parts of Igbo land, some youths have taken the law into their hands, causing strife and perpetrating violence.
“This is not unconnected with crave for money and some of our elders who should speak out, keeping quiet either due to complicity or fear,” he said.
Azubuike fingered some elders and key stakeholders in the community for providing support for the youths perpetrating the criminal activities, saying that the illegality had thrived because of that.
The Oba Vigilante Head however said the committee is meeting with the town leadership to find a lasting solution to the matter, stressing that such evil can not been allowed to continue.
When contacted, the President General, Oba Patriotic Union, Chris Onwuemelie said he is aware of the incident and the youths involved, saying that the matter is a personal one.
He however, called for the propagation of positive developments in the community instead of negative incidents, saying that Oba, is an elitist community with many of its indigenes who have distinguished themselves in many areas of endeavour which should be talked about.
“I am worried about the kind of information coming out of Oba community and the implication for the town. We cannot say because one person was killed in our community, we now use it to condemn the town. There are killing all over the country and ours is not an exception. Oba needs every positivity it can get as it is now,” he said.