Over 2,000 landowners in Delta State have protested the acquisition and demolition of their property worth over N30billion even as 10 of them have reportedly died from a heart attack following the development.
The land situated at the back of Asaba International Airport, was said to have been sold by Umuodafe Quarters, in Ibusa, Oshimili North Local Government Area of the state but forcefully acquired by the Delta State Government.
The protesters carried placards with different inscriptions such as “Okowa leave our land alone,” “Some of us took loan to purchase this land,” “Okowa enough of injustice” among others.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, one of the displaced Boko Haram victims, Mr. Raymond Ifeanyi, lamented the illegal acquisition of their land allegedly by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
He said, “We bought this land since 2018, surprisedly they brought bulldozer and started destroying all our property, that the Governor Okowa has acquired the land.
“Boko Haram destroyed my place in the North, so the little I have, I came here to Asaba, bought land and starting building so that my family can have a roof over their head.
“They brought bulldozer and demolished all our property worth over 30 billion. We followed all necessary procedure in acquiring the land from the community and the papers are there.”
Another landowner, Engr. Akeen Lasisi, and a widow Mrs. Juliana Ogbuagwu, lamented that they had invested over N200million in the land, adding that they acquired the land legitimately from the community.
“We enquired about the land before we acquired it. It was a free land, we went to Ministry of Lands and Survey and it was confirmed free by the government before we acquired it from the community.”
They disclosed that over 10 members have died of heart attack in the course of fighting over the land.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, had said that the said land was acquired for the overriding public interest.
“In that particular land, government had long before now acquired the entire expanse of land in that area for overriding public interest,” he said.