The natives of Umuoke Umuagiriga Uborji Okuku autonomous community in Owerri West LGA, Imo State, have told Commissioner of Lands, Hon. Noble Atulegwu and cohorts to stop denting the good image of Governor Hope Uzodimma by using his name to grab their land for their own aggrandizement.

The people who spoke through one of their elders, Mr. Uka Henry, while reacting to the alleged invasion of their community by Policemen from Tiger Base, Owerri Command, by 3: Am on Monday, lamented that some of the Land Committee Members, some selfish elders are working with the Commissioner of Lands to grab their land using the name of the state government.

Uka explained that the private property developers, some of who he said come from Okuku and Atulegwu had earlier told them about government’s intention to take large expanse of their land for housing estate, but nothing of that nature happened, only for them to come with military men who allegedly bulldozed, brushed and cleared their land, parcelled and sold to people.

“We initially thought it was government who is taking our land, but we discovered after thorough investigation carried out that it was not government who actually came for our land especially by how they entered and started selling the land to private persons instead of building estate. There is no public infrastructure sited as an indication of government presence which also made us to believe that they conspirators came to do individual business with our farm land”.

The people emphasized that the Commissioner for Lands had allegedly told them in clear terms that government is not taking their land when they visited him at his office recently in Owerri, just as Nlemoha Chris and others had earlier told them the same thing, wondering why “Atulegwu is denting the good image of Governor Hope Uzodimma out of his personal interest while the 3R administration is on recovery process”.

They pleaded with the Governor to come in and “save his image from being dented by Atulegwu and cohorts who have resorted in using security agents to harass, intimidate, bully and arrest us simply because we refused them from taking our land forcefully and illegally. Our land is seriously under siege. They are plotting to subdue us by all dangerous means. These opportunists are now bringing in state government to cover their tracks of sin having reneged from their earlier statements and assurances of state government not interested in taking Okuku land without the Governor knowing”.

Describing Uzodimma as a God-fearing politician and pragmatic leader, Uka begged the Governor to intervene and settle the issue amicably to avoid stealing of their land, blood shed and battering of his good image by some of his selfish appointees, the private property developers and some gullible and glutinous elders of Umuoke Umuagiriga Uborji Okuku, saying they are solidly behind the reelection process of Governor Hope Uzodimma who they believe would uphold good governance in the state if he is reelected.

“One of us was battered and illegally picked up by police men (from Tiger Base) who invaded our community in the early hours of Monday. His father and siblings were also maltreated. They shot sporadically to frighten us. They listed some persons opposed to their infiltration into our land to be arrested, but they narrowly escaped. We did not commit any crime, we are only resisting them from taking our land forcefully and crookedly. We know that government owns every land, but due process should be followed as Land Act demands”.