Awka, the capital of Anambra State was in chaos, on Thursday, when the youths of the town and community leaders organised what could be described as a mock burial for the Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development, Chief Law Chinwuba.
The over 200 protesters, who marched to State Secretariat, were led by the chairman of 20 villages in Ezinano, Comrade Obi Ochije and Rev. Ifeanyi Victor Nebe.
They carried a coffin and moved round the entire community before moving to the secretariat, chanting war songs as they carried placards.
Some of these placards read, “remove all former Governor Peter Obi’s men, Awka and Aguleri are brothers”, “Chinwuba rest in peace”, “Chinwuba is a cancer in Obiano’s administration”, “Rock land must leave Awka”, among others.
The protesters alleged that the commissioner had taken about 70 plots of Awka land, without paying compensation on them.
Speaking at the secretariat while addressing the Head of Service (HOS), Rev. Ifeanyi Victor Nebe, Special Adviser on Lands to the community and consultant on Awka lands, said the community had petitioned the government severally on the issue to no avail.
He listed some of the areas the community conceded its lands to the government as the secretariat, Governor’s Lodge, teaching hospital, state police command, Department of Security Service(DSS), prisons, high court among others.
Nebe said though the government owned every land, that forceful acquisition of land by individuals especially, government officials, had not taken such dimension anywhere in the country the way it was in Awka.
Furthermore, the community alleged that over 70 hectares of their land had been acquired by individuals with impunity.
Ochije demanded that Rock Land Investment Company should not step into any land in Awka from now.
He pleaded with the state Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, to urgently intervene in the matter before it turned to bloodshed in the land.
Again, he said they would mourn the commissioner for seven days as Awka customs and tradition demand, while the men would not touch their wives and would be in hunger strike within the period.
However, addressing the protesters, the HOS, Chidi Ezeoke, told them that their demands would be quickly forwarded to Obiano, who had not been in the state for some days.
Ezeoke, commended the protesters for the peaceful nature of their action without being violent, adding that their anger was understandable.