- The Akwa Ibom government has said rumours that illegal structures in the state were demolished on Christmas day are false
- The state commissioner for lands and water resources, Arc. Ime Ekpo, said the stories were false
- The commissioner, however, disclosed that the state government will continue the demolition exercise on Friday, December 27
The Akwa Ibom government has denied demolishing illegal structures in the state on Christmas day.
The state commissioner for lands and water resources, Arc. Ime Ekpo, said the stories about illegal demolition on social media were false.
“We carried out demolition last week Friday, on Monday and Tuesday. There was no demolition on Wednesday which was Christmas day.
“You are at liberty to go to those affected and find out, there was no demolition on Christmas day. And there was no single gunshot as insinuated,” he told journalists in Uyo, the state capital.
The commissioner, however, disclosed that the state government will continue the demolition exercise on Friday, December 27.
Ekpo said though the government was not under a legal obligation to notify the owners of those structures about the demolition, the ministry still informed them.
According to him, the illegal structures demolished by his ministry (lands and water resources) in Nung Oku Ibesikpo last week and on Wednesday, December 24, were erected on government land.
He said that the state government acquired the said land and paid compensation fully to the original owners and the host community since 2005.
His words: “This parcel of land was acquired by the government about 2005. Compensations were paid to the landowners. There is no ambiguity at all on whether compensation was paid or not.
“So in May 2017, a concerned citizen from that community wrote a letter to the ministry informing us that: one, the parcel of land in their village Nung Oku that government acquired, surveyed and paid compensation have encroached.
“In that same letter, he mentioned that there is one young boy in the village by name, Leo Bassey, who has been deceiving unsuspecting members of the public into selling out government land.
“When I got that letter, I invited the village council and the village head, they came to the office and I specifically mentioned in my letter of invitation to them that Leo Bassey must come with them. The village council said they never had a hand in the sales of government land, that government had acquired the land and paid them compensation adequately.”
Ekpo said the governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, in May 2017 directed the ministry of lands to allocate the said parcel of land to Generals of the Nigerian Armed Forces who are from Akwa Ibom state.
The commissioner regretted that because of the actions of some youths of the community who conspired and sold part of the land to unsuspecting members of the public, the allottees who were given allocation papers since May 2018 have not been able to access the land.
He said though the government was not under a legal obligation to notify the owners of those structures about the demolition, the ministry still informed them.
He disclosed that the state government was working towards having an automated land registry where members of the public can check to know where government parcels of land are situation.
He advised members of the public to always check with the ministry of lands before buying any land from people to avoid falling prey to fraudsters who are in the habit of selling government lands.
Meanwhile, Governor Emmanuel has expressed deep gratitude to citizens of the state for their collective will and resolve to stand for peace, unity and development for the state.
This was contained in his Christmas message to the people in Uyo, the state capital on Tuesday, December 24.
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