The ever busy Port-Harcourt Express Road, Owerri witnessed temporary gridlock caused by protest staged by the people of Umunebo and Ubokwu communities of Obinze in Owerri west local government area of Imo State.
The Obinze communities had accused Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology Owerri, Prof. Nnennaya Otti backed by Governor Hope Uzodimma for demolishing properties worth N500 million and selling their only remaining ancestorial land.
Youth Leader, Oparanozie Ejike
Speaking to newsmen, the group alleged that the only ancestral land left for their children are being forcefully being taken away from them pointing finger at the agents of the government of Hope Uzodimma.
The protest, which was peaceful witness the presence of women groups, youths and elders as they sang various tunes of injustices meted out to them in Igbo Language, calling on those accused to leave their lands for them.
Speaking, Mr. Oparanozie Ejike .N. youth leader from Umunebo in Obinze Autonomous community, said: "It's quite unfortunate that the only ancestorial land remaining for us and our children are being forcefully taken away from by Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State and Imo State Government.
" Our Communities have made so much sacrifices. We have conceded enough land to FUTO, Obinze 34 artillery brigade, Redemption estate Heartland phase 1, 2,3,4,5, and 6 to government and many others. Why must they want to take away the only small portion remaining fro us and forcefully, too."
He futher alleged that FUTO are working with some pockets of land grabbers in the guise of real estate companies to take their lands without going through due process of consulting with the communities that own the land.
One of the demolished building buildings
Also speaking, the Vice Chairman of the group, Mr. Uche Ndukwu, disclosed that Obinze people are not happy with the situation on ground, adding that while they are not against a proposed University Teaching Hospital by FUTO but the High Institution has enough land.
Another ruins of demolished building allegedly carried out by FUTO with the backing of Imo State government
"Twenty percent of the land our people donated to FUTO has not been developed. They have more than enough lands within their premises to build any structure they wish rather than coming to make trouble with our communities."
Wailing women with placards calling on God to intervene while calling on Prof. Oti and Hope Uzodinma to leave their ancestral land for them...
Meanwhile, the Women leaders, Mrs. Juliana Uzoegbu and Mrs. Grace Ayozie, in their separate speeches said that the new FUTO Vice Chancellor Mrs. Prof. Nnenenna Otti' s prority is to destroy the future of their children.
"We have sacrificed everything. The only remaining ancestral land is being taken away from us. We are ready to die to ensure that we bequeath to our children where to reside."
The women who were adorned in black blouses advised FUTO V.C to go elsewhere if they want to build hospital.
The protesters were armed with placards with various inscriptions: "Land Grabbers Leave Our Land Alone, The Person Of Stanley Anyanwu, Ifeayi Oparanze E. Mrs. Prof. Nnennaya N. Otti;
"Governor Hope Uzodinma Please Leave Our Land Alone.
"Prof. Nnennaya N. Otti Leave Our Land Alone."
The said land is over 500 hundred acres.
Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo state, on Wednesday, August 4, 2021, had assured the management of Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) that the portions of land being encroached upon by some host communities will be recovered by his government.
The Vice Chancellor of FUTO, Prof. Nnenna To had claimed the institution had won its cases against the communities even as Uzodimma averred that all lands belong to the government and would ensure he recovers all FUTO lands for the purposes of building a Teaching Hospital.
Also recall that The Blueprint Newspaper of August 4, 2021 edition had reported:
"Uzodimma made it clear that all lands belonged to government, according to the Land Use Act, and insisted that since other governors before him had protected FUTO lands, he would do everything to protect them, adding that the map containing the areas acquired as FUTO lands and the survey plan were all with him.
"The governor further informed FUTO management that he came with bulldozers if there was anywhere the management would want them bulldozed to ensure full recovery of their lands to ensure there are no encumbrances and assist management to protect the school.
"Earlier, while welcoming the governor to FUTO, the Vice Chancellor, Prof Nnenna Oti had informed him that FUTO was both national and global brand, with their products scattered all over the place."
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