The People of Owerri zone, mainly the clans that own the Owerri Federal Capital territory have told the incumbent Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha to count them out in his second term bid to governor the state, as they have agreed in unison that his first outing unleashed on them untold hardships, following the unauthorized confiscation of their ancestral lands on the alleged instruction of the Governor.
The Owerri Federal Constituency, mainly Owerri North, Owerri West, Owerri Municipal and part of Mbaitoli and Ikeduru LGAs are grumbling that under Okorocha’s supervision their lands have been acquired by Government
forcefully without proper consultation of the people, and compensation to the owners of such lands, even as Imo state Government is still bent on taking more of their lands, leaving them without where to show their new generations as abodes.
The people of Owerri accused the Governor, of “planting” his son inlaw, Chief Uche Nwosu, as the commissioner for lands, who now over-sees the “operation grab Owerri lands”.
Only on Wednesday, the women of Avu in Owerri West LGA, barricaded the busy Port Harcourt-Owerri road, displaying some placards which appealed to Governor Okorocha to hands-off lands belonging to Avu community.
According to the angry women who wore black uniforms, Okorocha is tactically acquiring their lands to the detriment of their children, even after Government has not developed the large portions of Avu lands already taken away from them.
This Newspaper was informed that there is a plot to move the Imo Transport Corporation ITC located at MCC road in Owerri to Avu, the original site mapped out as the Central mark/Motor Park, while the vast portion of land at MCC/Uratta road may end up in private hands .
It was learnt that the 12 hectares of land at Avu would have been since converted to a site for a private hotel in disguise of a Government property, but was resisted by the community.
Trumpeta was informed that a site meant for the New Government House at New Owerri has been acquired as a private layout by a top politicians in the state whose identity is yet to be made open by the authorities.
Engineer Iyke Opara, the leader of New Owerri Land Lords said that Area K at the Federal Housing Area is dead-locked following a court case between the ancestral owners and the Government leaving the situation dicey for Owerri people.
The source said the contentious Somachi Market Egbu road is alleged to have been shared between Somachi ltd and the powers that be, leaving out the original owners.
Part of Otamiri-South East layout and former LAVAM are alleged to have been also revoked and token over by Government, without adequate compensation to the owners.
GTC Owerri is said have been converted to Market stores, whose owners are yet shrouded in secrecy, with some part of the burial grounds at Relief Market Converted to Shops, which caused uproar when bones of dead the bodies were exhumed in the process on digging foundations.
The Nekede and Orji mechanic villages are said to have been partitioned among political heavy weights without consulting the original owners, a situation which is raising tension in Orji and Nekede communities already.
Following this development, Owerri have sworn not to give Okorocha their votes in2015 unless he explains to them the true situation concerning their ancestral lands.
However, Chief Opara is optimistic that which ever land taken by the present administration in the state or by individuals are still subject to revocation, just as Okorocha did to the lands acquired or allocated out by his predecessors.
“Whatever happens, whenever Okorocha leaves office, all these lands taken away from their original owners and allocated to allies by Okorocha would be revoked as he did to others” Opara told Trumpeta
Meanwhile, a source from Government House Owerri said Okorocha has not converted any body’s land, saying that the Governor follows the due process through which Governments acquire community lands.
“Recently, this administration paid land owners millions of Naira in Ngor Okpala LGA for the acquisition of the Free Trade zone. So, how can Owerri people say this Government acquired their lands without compensation? This is just blackmail” Trumpeta was told.