Enugu State government debunks land grabbing allegation

Enugu State Government on Friday denounced allegations of land grabbing, destruction of economic trees and cattle ranches levelled against its housing development agency.

General Manager, Enugu State Housing Corporation, Mr Chukwuemelie Agu, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu that an allegation made by one Anthony Eruchie that the agency destroyed his father’s farm was unfounded.

Eruchie had alleged that the housing corporation forcibly took over a parcel of land in Enugu where his 85-year-old father’s 40 years old plantation/cattle ranch was destroyed.

He alleged that the corporation used fake court order to carry out the action, adding that cash crops worth millions of naira were destroyed and more than 250 cows and uncountable number of goats got missing in the process.

Agu described the allegations as malicious, unfounded and an attempt to drag the image of the corporation in mud.

He said that the corporation duly entered into partnership with Benchyke Nig. Ltd., the owners of the property to develop the site.

“The corporation entered into the property with a court judgment in Suit No. E/593/017 that clarified the real owners of the parcel of land which was in favour of Benchyke Nig. Ltd.,’’ he said.

He explained that Benchyke Nig. Ltd. had gone further to obtain warrant of possession from the court which activated its title over the property and possession duly executed.

“The corporation in exercise of its power to acquire land under Sect. 17 of Enugu State Housing Development Corporation Laws, Cap 58 of 2004, negotiated and acquired the land formally,’’ he stressed.

“The transaction is embodied in an agreement of land acquisition between the parties gazetted in Enugu State Government official gazette dated Nov. 28, 2020 in Volume 29,  no 5 ISSN 1116-2971,’’ Agu Added.

He said that the corporation upon enquiry and in furtherance to its pursuit for diligence and due process discovered that the Eruchie family made a bogus claim to the ownership of the property.

“The purported title of Christopher Eruchie was subjected to scrutiny by Enugu State Ministry of Lands and Urban Development through the Enugu State Police Command which wrote a report dated Sept. 17, 2020 with Reference No LEN/32051/ in Vol. 11/200.

“The report stated that Eruchie’s title over the land was not registered at the Ministry of Lands contrary to his claim of possessing Certificate of Occupancy in respect of the said land,’’ he said.