Three Communities in Akwa Ibom Accuse Umo Eno’s Govt of Taking Over Land Without Compensation

Three communities – Anua Offot, Use Offot, and Ifa Ikot Okpon – located in the Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, have raised grievances against the state government, alleging a breach of agreement regarding land ownership.

Akwa Ibom

According to their claims, the state government purportedly took over their land without fulfilling the agreed compensation.

In a press conference held in Uyo over the weekend, representatives from these communities, operating under the banner of Concerned Land Owners, voiced their dissatisfaction. They asserted that the state government had only paid a fraction of the agreed compensation, amounting to N13.1 million out of the promised N100 million.

Mr. Power Anthony, the president of the group, expressed their collective frustration, highlighting that the state government executed the takeover without prior eviction notices. Allegedly, residents were forcefully removed, with their homes demolished, leaving their belongings inside.

Furthermore, the communities accused the state government of encroaching on additional land, specifically the Anyam Farmland along the New Ring Road 3. They stated that the government disregarded previous agreements and proceeded with groundbreaking activities on this land despite assurances not to do so.

He said, “The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Pst Umo Eno on Thursday 21st, March 2024 invaded Anyam Farmland, along the New Ring Road 3, off Oron Road, Uyo, with his entourage and performed groundbreaking on a land that compensation has not been paid.

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“It could be recalled that Former Governor Udom Emmanuel decided to intervene in the land matter by officially consulting the land owners through a letter dated 25th August, 2021.

“It was agreed that One Hundred Million Naira (N100,000,000,00) would be paid.

“But during a meeting between the Akwa Ibom State Government, and the Concerned Land Owners regarding the acquisitions and compensation, the Akwa Ibom State Government was represented by the said Honourable Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources, Pst Umo Eno, who is now the state governor.

“Pastor Umo Eno, now the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, pleaded with Mr Power Anthony on behalf of the land owners, to receive only the sum of Fifteen Million Naira (N15,000,000,00).

“He promised to offer numerous appointments to land owners when he becomes governor if they would accept the said Fifteen Million Naira (N15,000,000,00), out of the promised One Hundred Million Naira (N100,000,000,00).

“Subsequently, after signing of an agreement dated 7th January, 22 with caption: Indemnity Bond, between the Akwa Ibom State Government, and the Concerned Land Owners regarding the donation, the state government paid just the sum of Thirteen Million, One Hundred and Thirty Five Thousand Naira (N13,135,000,00), through the said ministry of lands to Land Owners. Not Fifteen Million Naira (N15,000,000,00), as agreed.

“The land owners sent letters to Pastor Umoh but owing to how busy he was during the campaigns, those letters were not given appropriate attention.”

Meanwhile, journalists who visited the communities on Monday saw ruins of demolished buildings which stood on the new area taken over by government.

A native of Use Offot community, Gabriel Anderson, who also spoke with journalists said, “Government never negotiated with us on the new section. This is impunity. Please, help us get justice on this.”

When contacted for his reaction, the Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Captain Iniobong Ekong (Rtd), denied all the allegations by the landowners, saying he was not aware of the development.

“I am not aware of it. When you publish it, we would see it. If publishing the report would solve whatever problem they claim to have, please go ahead and publish it.”