Mr Uche Best Mbanaso

Land owners in Orlu LGA of Imo State have renewed their appeal for Imo government’s intervention over their farm lands that were forcefully acquired or appropriated by Ichie Uche Best Mbanaso, on pretext that he had Governors approvals.

One of the land owners, Hon Chief Oliver Anopuome of Owerre Umudioka, who petitioned the Governor in 2017 over the forceful takeover of his land by Uche Mbanaso was earlier invited by Dr Paschal Obi, the then Principal Secretary to the Governor for discussion but nothing according to him came out of the meetings.The family has therefore renewed the appeal through the incumbent Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, for his intervention to enable him recover his lands. Anopuome would want a total review of all land transactions entered on behalf of Imo government by Ichie Uche Best Mbanaso.

Another victim of Ichie Uche Mbanaso’s land racketeering disposition, late Chief Gogo Imo died few years ago without recovering his ancestral home at Umuna Orlu. Mbanaso had deceived Gogo’s family into believing that the dual carriage way constructed from Total Junction Orlu to Ideato home town of Okorocha had run through late Gogo Imo’s ancestral home and offered to relocate the family to another house.

However after a year’s advanced payment for an apartment at 18 Umuezeala Road, Umuna Orlu, Mbanaso abandoned the family to their fate. Late Gogo Imo was eventually ejected out with their personal belongings thrown out in the open. Late Gogo Imo who was then paralysed was left in the lurch despite several appeals to both Mbanaso who instead of the dual carnage road, erected a hotel at the same spot where his house situated. He later died from complications arising from the maltreatments meted out to him by Ichie Uche Best Mbanaso and ex-governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha, who kept a defiant heart over his plight. It was not confirmed if late Gogo Imo’s wife and children succeeded in recovering the hotel premises which is their ancestral home after the demise of their husband and father. It was learnt that Mbanaso built the gigantic hotel for Okorocha as a gift in appreciation for his appointment.

As early as August 2011, barely three months after the inauguration of Okorocha’s rescue mission administration, then Mayor of Orlu zone, Ichie Uche Best Mbanaso in a letter on land acquisition which he addressed to the traditional ruler of Umuowa Autonomous Community, Eze M.C Duruigbo, falsely claimed that Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha had approved the acquisition of the land opposite MAWATEC Industries between Umudim and Umudike road, Orlu for use for the “construction of an international science school for the state”.

Mbanaso did not stop at that, he also allegedly dropped the name of Okorocha with which he willfully and arbitrarily acquired the land beside MAWATEC Industries, “for the purpose of building a workshop for the artisans in Orlu”. It later turned out that the government of Imo state had no interest or any hand in the acquisitions of these lands.

Mbanaso also used government covers to forcefully and deceitfully appropriate the two landed properties. While efforts were on to ascertain why government would acquire such lands without first approaching and negotiating with the land owners, Mbanaso on 23rd January, 2020, informed the traditional ruler and people of Orlu and Njaba that the Imo state government under Okorocha had acquired all lands along the Y-Junction (Nkume) to Banana Junction and from Y-Junction through Umudioka/Owerre/Umuowa/Owerre Ebeiri to Orlu, “for developmental purposes” which turned out to be a ruse. With the exit of Okorocha, the people have therefore passionately renewed their bid to recover their lands in possession of Mbanaso.