From Charity Uwakwe, Abia
Following the purported land donation to the federal government, for RUGA project at Aro-Ngwa axis along the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway in Osisioma LGA of Abia State by the state government, the latter has utterly rebutted the information, describing it as ridiculous and unfortunate.
Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu without mincing words reiterated that what the rumour mongers had misconstrued as donation for RUGA project which has been in controversy was a particular portion of land, situated at Aro-Ngwa which the former governor Theodore Orji had an understanding in 2014 to lease to the then Goodluck Jonathan-federal government a land for the building of a proposed trailer park.
Recall that there have been insinuations in many quarters which allege that Okezie Ikpeazu led-administration donated a large portion of land to the federal government for the building of the RUGA project at Aro-Ngwa.
Addressing journalists at the office of the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Governor, in Government House, Umuahia, Wednesday, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Abia State, Mr Uche Ihediwa said the request was made when he (the former) served as the Commissioner for Lands.
Ihediwa explaines that the said land donation agreement antedates Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration, as he insisted that the present government only inherited the request by the federal government.
Abia state government revealed that the proposed donation of the said 20-hectare land to the federal government was revoked upon discovering that the request by the latter was for a 50-hectare land for a trailer park whereas the land being sought was 20 hectares.
Citing relevant laws that invested on state governments the powers to allocate lands and issue Certificates of Occupancy (C of Os) whosoever it deems fit, the Abia commissioner revealed that the land in question has been allocated to a car assembly plant which the governor had attracted to the state.
He accused a university don and traditional ruler of Umuobasi Community in Osisioma, HRH Eze Prof S.I Owuala of spreading the rumour that Eze Enwereji has sold part of his community to the Fulanis for the RUGA project; even as insisted that the Abia State government stands by the agreement of the south east governors that no land would be given out for RUGA.
His word, “It will be contrary to what the governments of the entire south east stand for to allow anything that is in the nature of RUGA because the governors have been emphatic about”.
“I want to state that we’ve not given any land to anybody or government. Under my watch at the Ministry of Land and Urban Development I recall that we gave the federal government land at Mbaisi in Obingwa LGA where the government is currently building housing estate and a hospital.
“The process is that a letter is transmitted to the state governor who minutes to Commissioner for Lands so there was nothing untoward about the request for a trailer park under Jonathan administration. We’re surprised that in the passage of time, people would tend to give misguided and unfortunate interpretations to this very noble objective.
“So when we came on board, the request was still in the pipeline. So we went about interacting with the communities in the cause of the interaction and saw that they were looking for 50 hectares, but the available land was just 20 hectares, so we aborted that assignment.
“This same Osisioma land was now penciled down for a car assembly plant which the governor has attracted from China. But unfortunately, someone went about saying that the land for the trailer park is an indirect way of establishing RUGA which is to say that only Hausa/Fulani people would use the place.
“So what started under President Jonathan suddenly took another colouration. It’s unfortunate that Eze Owuala is the one behind this heinous and ridiculous rumour which is making the rounds locally and internationally”, he declared.
Meanwhile, present at the event were Mr Onyebuchi Omemanka, CPS to the state Governor and the traditional ruler of Aro-Ngwa Autonomous Community, HRH Eze Ndukwe Enwereji.