Villagers in a place called Avu, on the outskirts of Owerri, the Imo State capital, have taken to the courts to halt what they see as an illegal attempt by Governor Rochas Okorocha to seize their land.
The multi-acre land with hundreds of owners is in an undeveloped area known as “New Owerri”. One of the affected owners, who alongside his two brothers, own about three plots of land in the area, informed Naijiant.com that Okorocha first claimed that kidnappers were operating out of the unused land and then moved to seize it as Imo State property. He then brought bulldozers in and started clearing the area.
The source said this was meant to be the first stage in transferring ownership to Okorocha and his family – as he is alleged to have done with massive parts of the capital. Another source claimed that the governor intends to hand out some of the land to some politicians to buy their support for his political ambitions and that of his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, who is being groomed for the governorship in 2019. The land originally belonged to the federal government and was allocated to the current owners in the 1970s.
The owners have held meetings for the past few months and have recently engaged the services of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria to stop Okorocha’s repossession plans. Additionally, a huge protest has been organised for today in the state capital, taking in Government House (Okorocha’s official residence) and the state House of Assembly.