The marking of 500 different houses for demolition in Ugwuachalla Ikenga village, Ogidi, Idemili North local government area of Anambra State by officials of the Anambra State Physical Planning Board (ANSPPB) has sent a middle aged woman (names withheld) to her untimely grave even as 10 others went into coma when the officials stormed the area yesterday.
The shock was too much on her and she simply slumped and died while others in shock like her were rushed to the hospital.
The said officials stormed the area with armed policemen and local vigilante groups who gave them protection as they embarked on marking the houses for demolition.
It was gathered that in every marked house, the owner would be forced to sign a removal/demolition order letter signed by the Executive Secretary of ANSPPB, Mr Ben Nwafor, notifying them that they have 14-days to remove whatever structure they put in the said area.
An octogenarian who was also served the order, Chief Aniebuka Okafor said, “My father was born here and I grew up here. Are they trying to take our natural inheritance by force without pre-notice?
“I developed high blood pressure (HBP) when I received the letter telling me to remove my house from the land. How can the government that is to protect us resolve to kill us? About 10 of us were in coma when we were handed the letter. The governor should come to our rescue”.
Speaking, Mr Paul Okoye expressed surprise over the manner they stormed the area adding that “we have lived here a long time after our forefathers.
“We thought they were the dreaded Islamic religious sect, Boko Haram, because of the manner they were ordering us to sign the document and to ensure we vacate the area within 14 days”.
Contributing, another man who had HBP, Mr Samuel Okoye hinted that “my father, Okoye Mozie was the first to live here in 1709. We even own the land up to the stadium. I slumped yesterday in the presence of the officials and I am just from the hospital. A woman died when they came and told her to pack out within 14 days”.
Their counsel, Barrister Pat Agbata said, “the president general of the community is not aware of this invasion; the people are supposed to be carried along. They should expect more deaths because the people are being ejected from their natural inherited land”.
When contacted, the executive secretary of ANSPPB said, the land measuring about 500 plots were earmarked for stadium development but because government did not commence its development earlier, the people started selling the land.
According to him, Governor Willie Obiano through the Sports Ministry ordered for the demolition of the structures they put in there.