- A group has come to the rescue of poor villagers displaced in Ebonyi state
- The group, Human Rights Defenders of Nigeria, berated the Ebonyi state government for demolishing properties of the villagers
- A proposed airport by the government has affected locals in a particular area in the state
A group, Human Rights Defenders of Nigeria (HURIDE), has berated Governor David Umahi over the forceful and unlawful demolition of people's ancestral homes in Ezza North LGA of Ebonyi for the proposed airport project in Abakaliki, the state capital.
The Ebonyi state chapter of the group accused the governor of carrying out the action without exhausting all due processes.
Some security personnel had on Thursday, February 6 reportedly led bulldozers to demolish some houses in the area on the instruction of the state government.
State chairman of the rights group Comrade Sampson Oko Nweke, however, assured the victims that they will get justice through the court of law.
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In a statement sent to journalists on Saturday, February 8, Comrade Nweke said the state government carried out the action without due consultation and compensation.
He said the group is not against the airport project by the state government or the location of the project, but the unlawful, inconsiderate and delinquent processes of acquiring the lands (people's villages) for that purpose.
He also queried why the government is ignoring the court of law, even when the matter is still pending.
His words: “How can the government just rise in utter disrespect to court proceedings, invade people's ancestral homes with heavily armed security men and start destroying and demolishing their houses, farmlands, economic trees, churches, and shrines without due consolations, fair compensations or alternative settlements.
“For crying out loud, this is a ruthless strategy, an inhumane treatment, a vindictive approach and a total show of disrespect for the rights of the common people. A development stride should be a source of succour and comfort and shouldn't mean to inflict pains, agony and sorrow.
“This recent action of the state government is totally condemnable, utterly reprehensible and worrisomely shameful and must be seen and regarded as such.”
He said HURIDE is ready to explore all available avenues within the known boundaries of the law, to ensure the situation is brought to an end and compensation duly given to those affected.
He also assured all Ebonyians of the group's avowed relentlessness in defending and protecting their rights and liberties in line with the group's mission of advancing peace in Ebonyi state and the world at large.
In a related development, t 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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