Ogui Nike community rejects Enugu State panel of inquiry on disputed land

Ogui Nike community in Enugu North Local Government Area has reacted to the setting up of an Administrative Panel of Inquiry by the Enugu State Government to look into a disputed land in Ugwuaji community.

Spokesperson of the community, Mr Fidelis Oluchukwu, told newsmen on Saturday that the move by the state government would be subjudice as the matter was a subject of litigation and still pending in an Enugu State High Court.

Recall that the state government had on Sept. 3, 2020 inaugurated the six-member panel headed by Chief James Ikeyi (SAN).

The Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Simon Ortuanya had during the inauguration ordered cessation of claims to, and or activities on the disputed land until final submission of the panel's report and government’s action.

However, Oluchukwu described the move as double standard as the state government had in the past reached a decision on the ownership of the land.

He said that the state government was already in custody of a 1942 Inter-tribal Boundaries’ Settlement Ordinance No. 49 of 1933.

He said that this document which was further affirmed by the state government under former governor Chimaroke Nnamani, had resolved the ownership of the disputed land.

He, therefore, requested the state government under the current administration to recognise and implement the outcome of previous boundary decisions instead of setting up another panel.

“We request for the implementation of the boundary decision of the 1942 Inter-tribal Boundaries' Settlement Ordinance No.49 of 1933 between Ogui and Awkunanaw communities.

“This document was further affirmed by the Enugu State boundary Committee under former deputy governor, Chief Okechukwu Itanyi.

“Various key institutions and offices of the state government are in the custody of some of the facts, evidences and credible documents regarding the Ogui Nike land boundary with Awkunanaw communities,” he said.

Oluchukwu said that some of the fact which surrounded the ownership of the land predated Nigeria's independence and had always been acknowledged by successive governments of Eastern Region, East Central State, old Anambra and Enugu State.

He said that it was sad that in spite of the overwhelming evidence regarding the ownership of the land, “the Ogui Nike Community has been visited with outright violence, torture and intimidation by land grabbers.

“There has been consistent trespass in their land with impunity which has consequently resulted in the disruption of viable and legitimate economic activities in the area,” he said.

Oluchukwu called on the state government to be proactive and implement existing boundary demarcation by the National Boundaries Commission and Enugu State Boundary Committee in order to forestall a possible breakdown of law and order.

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