From Okwe Obi, Abuja

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has flayed the demolition of some buildings in Obeagu Awkunanaw community in Enugu State, and has demanded justice.

HURIWA National Coordinator Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, said the petition from the Obeagu community provided an account of the historical context of the dispute, alleging a flagrant violation of their rights and a disregard for due process.

“The core issue revolves around a land acquisition proposal made by Sen. Dr. Jim Nwobodo during his tenure as Governor of Anambra State in the 1980s.

“The land, initially intended for the Anambra State University of Science and Technology, has become the focal point of a heated dispute involving the state government and private entities.

“According to Sen. Dr. Jim Nwobodo’s remarks to the press on Friday, February 28, 2020, as published in Vanguard Newspaper on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, the proposed acquisition during his tenure was for the public interest, specifically aimed at establishing a state university.

Onwubiko contested the validity of the Official Gazette supposedly signed in 1986, citing false information, including the incorrect name of the Military Administrator at the time.

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According to him, the former Governor also questioned the authenticity of a survey plan created in 1985 for a university that was established after the creation of Enugu State in 1991.

He observed that the Obeagu community’s petition highlighted complexities in the dispute, uncovering discrepancies in land transactions, revocation notices, and the issuance of certificates of occupancy.

Also, he expressed deep concern over the alleged collaboration to unlawfully acquire and develop the contested land, leading to the recent demolition of houses within the Centenary City.

While expressing dissatisfaction with the Enugu State Government’s involvement in a consent judgment with a private developer in 2023, despite pending legal challenges, he emphasized the urgent need for a fair and impartial inquiry.

He said: “This inquiry should delve into the circumstances surrounding the demolitions and the questionable legal maneuvers that led to the consent judgment.”

In conclusion, he called for a prompt and transparent resolution of the land dispute, ensuring justice for the Obeagu Awkunanaw community.