Leadership of the Ugwuaji Awkunanaw community, Enugu South LGA has dismissed as false, a media report accusing Enugu Ministry of Housing of encroaching into the community land.
President General of the community Hon Barr Sunday Ngene, who addressed the press alongside some Executive members also exonerated the community from a certain petition to that effect.
The PG said; “We are here because our attention was drawn to a publication credited to Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) that there is a petition claiming that Enugu state government through the state Ministry of Housing is forcefully grabbing their land.
People should clarify issues about the community from the leadership of Ugwuaji Awkunanaw community before publishing.
Facts of the matter
We want to state that it was Ugwuaji Awkunanaw communities, owners of the approved layouts that approached Enugu State government through the Ministry of Housing to partner with them to develop their various layouts.
The layouts include, Promise land layout owned by Umunnajingene Ugwuaji Awkunanaw, Ndiaga-Umunnaugwu layout, owned jointly by Umunnugwu and Ndiaga village, Valley layout and Valley layout extension owned by Isiagu Ugwuaji.
These communities individually approached the Ministry of Housing to partner with them to develop their layouts.
There was never a time Enugu state government or its agency forcefully took the land of Ugwuaji Awkunanaw community. We have relevant documents of what we are saying.
Those who are behind such publication are mischief makers and for selfish interest. They are not pursuing the interest of the community.
If such a things happened, it is the President General of Ugwuaji Awkunanaw community through the Igwe in council that will write to the governor of Enugu state telling him the situation of things on ground and there is no such thing in our community.
As I speak to you, the layouts are all government approved, which you can verify from the state ministry of lands.
For avoidance of doubts, we hereby state that we do not have any problem with the state government or ministry of housing over our land and the public should disregard such publication by mischievous people.
I am warning HURIWA or anybody who intend to publish anything to approach Ugwuaji Awkunanaw community leaders for clarification.
The public should disregard the publication. It did not emanate from Ugwuaji Awkunanaw community but from mischief makers.
We are hereby asking the HURIWA to retract the publication against Ugwuaji Awkunanaw community which was meant to tarnish its image or face legal action.
Palace Secretary of Ugwuaji Awkunanaw Chief Bob Ugwu also spoke.
Let me lend my voice by saying that all the claims by HURIWA the so-called petition and publication, were fabrications and a product of their mindset. It has nothing to do with our community.
As had been pointed out by the PG, these are approved community layouts and there are conditions precedent before any layout is approved by the government.
The local government gives you directive on the nature of structures they want for a particular layout, whether high-rise buildings or otherwise.
So, if anybody that is erecting any structure there fails to comply with the official directives, such person does so at own risk as government has the right to pull down any structure that does not conform with the environmental factors that were considered before approving layouts.
Anybody that would do anything in any of those layouts must do so in conformity with the agreement that they may have reached with the sponsors of the layout. That is how it is done, and Ugwuaji cannot be an exception.
There was no petition from the community. As the Chief Scribe of the traditional institution, such a thing should have emanated from my desk, but that was not the case. So, those behind such fallacies obviously did not speak for the community; we neither know their sponsors nor their motives..
For too long, Ugwuaji had not been quite favoured like other communities in terms of provision of amenities. In fact, this is the first time, under the Ugwuanyi administration, that government has started looking towards Ugwuaji. We do not have good roads. The road that leads to the famous Ugwuaji Electricity Transmission Station has been in very bad shape. The government has started the road project.
So, we are impressed and grateful that the present administration in the state has agreed to partner with us, as we strive to tackle mass unemployment, poverty and infrastructural deficit in our communities.
No community can witness accelerated infrastructural development or mass employment without government collaboration. So, we are happy that government is partnering with us because it will help us to a large extent.
We however, plead with the government of the day to assist us with adequate security to enable us quell issues of conflict of interest and security breaches that we use to experience once in a while to make it easier for investors to approach us with utmost tranquility.