Over twenty family members claiming ownership to Ogbodogbo and Ogbogene land in Obosi in Idemili North local government of Anamabra state has raised the alarm over plots by thugs and hoodlums to take over their ancestral land.
Some of the families included Umu Ogbunamili, Umu ekwulugo in opi, umu Agu, Umu oduga, Umu ora akposim, Umu ilokwe in agbaja, Umu chiakwelu, and Umu ejimuche.
They called on government, security agencies and relevant stakeholders to save them from the criminals who claimed to have bought the property from the traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Chukwudubem Iweka 111.
The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions such as, “Gov Soludo save our Soul”, “They are killing us, Obosi must be great again,We are for soul city”
Speaking on behalf of one of the family members, a Septugenarian, Emeka Anyaefulu alleged that they have been severely prevented several times by thugs armed with matchet and guns from gaining access to the property.
He said they had entered a contractual agreement with a Real estate developing firm, Soul City Integrated Resources limited for the purpose of construction of a smart mega city estate.
He said, “The Igwe of Obosi and the so called Obosi land committee has prevented us from access to our land. We are being threatened, our lives are in danger. Our land is being sold out to the highest bidder; this is injustice of the highest order.
“We are hear to cry to Governor Soludo and all security agencies of the state and federal government to come and save us from the hands of our oppressors, enough is enough.”
Director, Soul City Integrated Limited, Michael Nwokoye who also accused the monarch of being behind disruptive plans of building a mega smart city on the contested land.
He said the project, on a massive land of over 273 hectares known as Ogbodogbo along the 2nd Niger Bridge approved by the Nigerian Inland WaterWays Authority and government for take off has been stalled over the years.
“We are gathered here today because Igwe Chukwudubem Iweka and his cabal has been frustrating our efforts to get the Mega smart city project underway. This has been on here for over three years now.
“He promised to settle boundary dispute between the original owners of the land who are all here with me. But instead of keeping to his promise, he planted hoodlums and militants to scare away the owners of the land.
“The Igwe has no plot of land here and it’s not a communal land yet he went to NIWA to get a right of way but they told him they had already issued the right of way to Soul City Integrated Limited and out of disappointment he decided to engage thugs to threaten and harm us.
“We are calling on Governor Soludo, Federal government and NIWA to stand firm in this matter and save us from the hands of Igwe and his cohorts.”
Nwokolo also alleged kidnap attempt led by one Chinedu Okafor aka Okeife over his resistance and interest in developing the land, but said he was fortunate to have escaped.
Reacting, Igwe Iweka described the allegations as fraudulent, insisting the protesters never met with real property owners but connived with extended relations of the families to demonstrate.
The monarch who spoke through his Counsel, Barr. Mega Ikegwuonu advised that Mr. Nwokoye should get to renegotiate with the authorized family heads that own the property.
“Nwokoye never met with real owners of the land. Instead, he connived with some impostors and extended relatives of the family members to stage a kangaroo protest in an attempt to hoodwink the members of the public and the press.
“He should seize from fomenting trouble and go back to the drawing board to renegotiate with the authorized family heads of the owners of the land rather than parading renegades posed as land owners in the name of Soul City Integrated Resources Ltd,” the monarch added.