The people of Umuoma Nekede Community in Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo State have dragged the State Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Physical Planning, Noble Abiaso Atulegwu to court over the invasion of their land.
Joined in the Suit No: HOW/475/2023 as co-defendants are the Imo State Governor, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Barr. Nnamdi Anyaehie and state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice.
An Imo State High Court sitting in Owerri received the suit on May 25, 2023.
Barrister Sony Azuike and Elder Goddy Obiyo who were listed as first and second plaintiffs filed the case on behalf of Umuoma Nekede Community against the above-named defendants.
The Presiding Judge, Justice C.N. Okereke after receiving the suit from the community’s counsel, Barr. P.E. Chima of Dee Nwigwe (SAN) Chambers adjourned the case to June 15, 2023 for a motion injunction against the defendants.
Recall that after an emergency meeting of Umuoma Nekede Community stakeholders held in Owerri recently, the Spokesman and Palace Secretary of the community, Elder Godwin Obiyo told journalists that Mr. Atulegwu has injected trouble and caused confusion in their community.
According to him, Atulegwu did this by illegally invading their Okwuaba farmland, Opupa Eziuzo farmland and Atuoru farmland of Umuezereokam Village which had been acquired for the building of “3R Housing Estate” through the state Ministry of Housing.
Elder Obiyo narrated that the Housing Ministry had already fulfilled agreement and reached a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding with their Community as well as fulfilled the necessary requirements of the Lands Ministry before Mr. Atulegwu assumed duties as commissioner.
He queried who Atulegwu is working for since Housing Ministry is also of the same present “shared Prosperity” government led by Governor Hope Uzodimma.
Obiyo said; “We are comfortable with the earlier conditions and agreements we have with the Housing Ministry. And the MoU will benefit our people a lot. Nobody should drag us back.
“Atulegwu is only trying to perfect his sharp practices only because he hails from Owerri West. He has started selling each form at five hundred naira only to interested buyers, claiming that he has parcelleted the land.
“We have held the ground-breaking ceremony of the project which Noble Atulegwu didn’t attend whereas he was invited. The Housing Ministry had earlier met the three major hosting towns where traditional rites were performed and Power of Attorney to kick off the project was signed.
“Noble Atulegwu has continued to bring thugs to our community claiming to have mandate of government to clear the land.
“The earlier MoU between our community and state Government has not been revoked. Where is he (Noble Atulegwu) deriving his powers to enter our land?. And we are sure that he is enjoying the backing of some top State Government functionaries and not Governor Hope Uzodimma himself.
“Because, we are aware that Governor Uzodimma is not interested in land grabbing and can’t spare anybody trying to grab land in his name.
“Therefore, we urge the governor to quickly investigate the commissioner”.