Tension is now brewing in Achara community in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State as no fewer than 100 members of the community are protesting the illegal sale of their communal land by some of the indigenes.
A section of the community, led by Mr. Augustine Alumona, Chairman, Achara Land Investigation Panel, indicted the land committee, led by his elder brother, of illegal sale of the communal land by a committee set up by Achara community, since 2008, which had refused to hand over the reins of authority – even after the expiration of their four-year tenure.
Daily Times gathered that the two brothers – Augustine and John Alumona – are now locking horns over the captaincy of Achara community land committee.
Augustine told the Daily Times that the investigation panel, which he as the chairman was set up by Achara community to investigate the Achara Land Committee headed by his elder brother John for the arbitrarily and illegal sale of the community’s land.
According to investigation, Augustine’s committee indicted the John Alumona-led committee and subsequently dissolved the committee in 2012, but John and his committee had continued to function in the same office.
“The John Alumona-led committee members have refused to quit, but continued to sell our communal land without the consent of the community.
He stated further that this is why elders and youths of Achara decided to carry out this protest.
“Our anger with this cabal is that they have continued to enrich themselves at the expense of the community. After serving as members of Achara land committee, since 2008, these people have not rendered their stewardship to elders who appointed them.
“Enough is enough; the community can no longer watch, almost hopelessly, as a group of people sell its land, illegally,” he said.
The spokesman of the group said the youths of the community were not happy because they the cabal had sold all the land they would have built their own houses.
“You can see that the majority of protesters are youths and old men; they are not happy with this land cabal in the community,” Augustine Alumona said.
However, John Alumona has continued to maintain that he had the power of attorney of the community to remain in office until the land issue between Achara community and the Nigerian Army was decided.
According to him, “I, Barr. Ejiofor Onah and Barr. Julius Ozioko, were given the power of attorney by the community to handle the Army cantonment land case until the matter was decided.
“We thank God, the court recently ruled that the cantonment belongs to Achara community.”
John wondered how the protesters could accuse his committee of selling land when every male had been allotted a plot of land, adding that even his younger brother, Augustine, could not deny not receiving a plot which he sold because of fear of soldiers reclaiming it from him.
“My younger brother who is leading in this protest is among the beneficiary of the land from my committee and among members of the community who sold their lands thinking that the army would lay claim on them.
“This same people now want to eat their cake and have by demanding N200.000 from same people they sold their lands to as development levy,” he said.
“The problem is that some members of the community wanted to collect N200.000 from people who bought the land as development levy, to which we objected.
“It will be unfair that after somebody bought a piece of land from you, you still want to collect N200, 000 from him or her as development levy before he can develop that land,” he said.
“The Achara community owns that land often referred to as Army Barracks in Nsukka; it is called Army Barracks because it was where the Biafran soldiers camped during the civil war.
“It is because of the commitment of my committee that the Army has not reclaimed the land,” Alumona said, adding that efforts by the Traditional Ruler of Nkpunano, Igwe Patrick Okore, to resolved this issued failed because Augustine and his group had been ignoring invitations from the traditional ruler.
“On September 23, 2015 the Igwe called for a meeting but they ignore him again,” he said.
According to him, when these protesters took this matter of selling land in Achara to Enugu State Commissioner of Police, recently, the commissioner directed the matter to the traditional ruler, since he knew better in terms of land that belong to his community.
Addressing the protesters, the Chairman of Nsukka LGA, Mr. Charles Ugwu, commended the people of Achara for being peaceful and promised to look into the matter so that the problem would be resolved amicably.
“I commend you all for conducting yourselves in peaceful manner. I urge you all to remain calm as government will promptly look into this matter, so as to resolve this matter peacefully,” he said. (Daily Times)