Owerri Landlords, CDA Clash Over Land Grabbing

Owerri, Imo, OCDA, Land Grabbing
The residents say the CDA is trying to take their lands away from them.

Landowners in Otu-Umuoboji-Umuorie community of Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo state, have accused the Owerri Capital Development Authority of alleged land grabbing and illegal demolition of their property.

The landowners came out in their numbers in a peaceful protest against the actions of the OCDA, who allegedly destroyed properties both still under construction and completed, worth millions of Naira.

Carrying placards with various inscriptions, they called on the Imo state Governor, Rochas Okorocha to quickly intervene to prevent any breakdown of law and order in the state.

Uratta-Egbu estate residents expressed disappointment in the actions of the OCDA whom they claimed earlier authorised the erection of buildings in the area.

They insisted that the demolition exercise by the management of the Owerri Capital Development Authority is a calculated attempt to snatch their lands illegally without recourse to due process.

The residents also said the land was bought legally with all valid documents including approval from the same authority claiming to be sent by the government.

According to them, there has been deliberate extortion from landowners who also maintained that some other properties were left untouched once a certain sum of money is paid as kickback to the authority.

Meanwhile, the management of the Owerri Capital Development Authority responding to these allegations said the accusations by the landowners in the area are untrue.

The General Manager of OCDA Chidiebere Nwaoga maintained that the land where the acclaimed landowners were erecting their property, belongs to the government.

He added that prior to that time, the area had been mapped out for schools, hospitals and other state projects, asserting that no amount of blackmail or rejection can stop the authority from carrying out its primary responsibility.

The victims have however called on the Governor Okorocha to help them reclaim their land as they insist the OCDA has been acting in isolation from the government.

Imo Police Arrest OCDA Boss For Alleged Involvement In Criminal Activities

The Imo State Police Command has arrested the General Manager of Owerri Capital Development Authority, OCDA, Mr. Iheanyi Abaekwume for his alleged involvement in criminal activities.

In a statement signed by the Imo State Police Public Relations Officer, Joy Elemoko, she said the government official was arrested at his residence in Aladinma area of Owerri in the early hours of Thursday.

She added that during the police search at his residence, some prohibited items were recovered in his house. She also claimed that the police acted on the various petitions that were submitted to the command, demanding that the police investigate the OCDA boss for some crime related activities in the state.

Mrs Joy Elemoko maintained that in the meantime, the OCDA boss is still remanded in police custody until proper investigations are conducted and concluded.

The police command however reiterated its commitment to arrest anybody either highly placed or ordinary person involved in any act of crime in the state.

Reacting to the arrest, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Sam Onwuemeodo said the arrest of the OCDA boss is condemnable and unacceptable.

He explained  that the police have the right to arrest somebody when they think he has breached the law but it must be done with civility. He said the OCDA boss is an agent of the State Government and the police was expected to put that into consideration stressing that the Imo State Police Command has been enjoying good relationship with the State Government and it is the wish of the government that such understanding should remain.

Owerri Capital Development Agency, OCDA, is a state agency saddled with the responsibility of redesigning and maintaining the master plan of Owerri, the Imo State capital city.