Orji Town Layout Annex land owners cry out over illegal take over of land    

Senator Hope Uzodinma,governor of Imo State

By Martin Nwoko

Some individuals who were given concessional plots of land at the Orji Town Layout Annex, Owerri, beside Imo Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) staff quarters Orji, have called on the present administration of Governor Hope Uzodinma in the state to as a matter of urgency look into what it described as injustice meted out to them. This was essentially owing to the fact that plots of land already concessioned to them by the Imo State government under Governor Ikedi Ohakim on March 23rd, 2010, were revoked by the Rescue Mission Administration of Rochas Okorocha.

Speaking to our correspondent in Owerri, one of the affected persons, Mr Kingsley, lamented that the new development came to them as a big surprise, owing to the fact that the original names of allotees given to them on their allocation papers have now been changed to yet another name “Owa Elu Uratta Layout”, as against “Orji Town Layout Annex Owerri”, as the place was originally called.

He further pointed out that some other persons different from the original allotees are already developing the said plots of land in the name of Crown Estate being championed by one Fratelo Property Ltd, who is an estate developer. He further hinted that some of the allotees received great shock when they went to their concessioned plots to start development only to discover that another set of people were already building on the land duly concessioned to them with another name.

He regretted the high level of land racketeering presently going on in the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Urban Planning, which he said has continued to discourage intending investors to come into the state and join hands with the state government to develop the state.

The affected individual whose plots of land were taken over by Fratelo Properties Ltd, stated that they have gone to the Owerri Capital Development Authority (OCDA) to investigate the matter and discovered that the name of the place has been changed as against what it was known as over the years. He maintained that the Imo State government had already percelated the whole area whereby it gave some to indigenes of the area and the remaining to the beneficiaries who had paid all the necessary fees required from them by the Imo State government.

He maintained that all the individuals and group or people to which plots of land were concessioned to have their duly signed letter of concession from the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Urban Planning Imo State and wondered why some government officials most especially in the said ministry will go behind to re-allocate plots of land already allocated and concessioned by the government without reference to the fact that these individuals have done all the necessary things required of them by the government.

The victims through their spokesman therefore urged the State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma to look into their plight by calling the Director of Lands and Permanent Secretary to order, in order to ensure that their already concessioned plots of lands are returned to them.

Efforts made to reach the Director of Lands, Ministry of Lands, Survey and Urban Planning, Mr Cosmos Okoro, on phone to get his reaction over the serious allegation against its ministry re-allocating lands already parcelated and concessioned to individuals by the previous administration proved abortive, as his mobile phone was not available as at the time of filling this report.