Proposed airport: Ebonyi group blasts Ezza-Ezekuna stakeholders over plight of farmers

Proposed airport: Ebonyi group blasts Ezza-Ezekuna stakeholders over plight of farmers

- The Ebonyi state government is facing a lot of heat in the state over its activities in recent times

- A group which declared its support for the Ebonyi government recently has also been berated for taking sides with the state's authorities

- The Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in Diaspora said some peasant farmers in the state have lost their means of livelihood due to the government's recent action

The Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in Diaspora (AESID) has condemned moves by some stakeholders in the state to justify the proposed Abakaliki airport by the Ebonyi state.

The group in a statement signed by its spokesman, Ambassador Pascal Oluchukwu on Thursday, February 6, berated Ezza-Ezekuna stakeholders in the state for its recent communique.

AESID said the communique issued by the group, threatened peasant farmers whose ancestral lands had been forcefully acquired by the Ebonyi state government for an airport project without compensating and resettling them.

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Proposed airport: Ebonyi group blasts Ezza-Ezekuna stakeholders over plight of farmers

Governor Umahi's proposed airport continues to bring to fore the plight of farmers in the state. Photo source: Facebook
Source: UGC

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The Ezza-Ezekuna stakeholders had in the said communiqué passed a vote of confidence on the state government over the controversial airport project.

Ambassador Oluchukwu, however, described the intervention by the group as 'sycophantic.'

He expressed dismay that the group could join the Ebonyi state government to intimidate the peasant farmers.

His words: “It is trite law that while the Land Use Act gives the governor powers to acquire any land for the overriding public interest, same law provides for adequate compensation for the farmers whose farmlands and ancestral homes have been forcefully taken.

“While we do not desire to go into the desirability or otherwise of an airport now in the state because we know that this government in the state hardly does anything that benefits the people but themselves. We believe that this project is about the supply of cement and other materials by a particular family in the state.”

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While expressing its unflinching support towards the displaced farmers in their trying moments, the group also commended the landowners for choosing the path of constitutionalism in seeking justice rather than resorting to self-help.

“The Ebonyi state government should refrain from their wicked acts of intimidations through their proxies, apologists and agents and rather be grateful to the displaced farmers who are enriching our legal jurisprudence by being civil,” the group said.

Recall that the AESID had earlier cautioned the Islamic Bank in Nigeria to be mindful of the kind of project it is providing loans to finance in Ebonyi state.

The group, in a statement on Wednesday, January 21, said that most of the ongoing projects in the state were conceived without putting the citizens in consideration, hence does not have "positive impact on the lives of the people of Ebonyi state."

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