The Commissioner for Lands and Town Planning in the Akwa Ibom State,Arc Ime Ekpo has reacted to the stories emanating from the demolitions of properties at Nung Oku in Ibesikpo Asutan local government of the State, by the ministry under his supervision.
He said that the land housing the affected properties was government’s acquired land,for housing and were allocated to the Army and police officers of Akwa Ibom state origin, where people encroached on.
According to the Commissioner, the demolitions were carried out on Friday, 20th ,Saturday 21st , Monday, 23rd and Tuesday 24th of December and not on the 25th,which was Christmas Day as is being speculated on different media foras,which to him is misleading.
He further stated that those affected by the demolitions were invited to his office for clarifications with a notice to leave the said land ,but they refused to comply with the invitations extended to them,even though the ministry is not obligated to give notice on illegal structures.
” We don’t give demolition notice on a structure that is illegal. Because we had wanted to settle this amicably, we gave them three months to vacate the place. We asked them to come to the Ministry with the proposal of what they want from us, should incase they had lavished everything the State Government had paid to them as compensation” Ekpo said
Ekpo pointed out that the land in contention after its acquisition, was surveyed and compensation paid by the State Government with a right of occupancy given and was published for record purposes.
” The land had been surveyed and compensation paid and was published. The village is aware of this, though the Village Head is now late.”
The Commissioner maintained that Governor Udom Emmanuel had on the night of Generals, during the 30th Anniversary of Akwa Ibom State in October 2017, promised to give Army and Police Officers of the State origin a land at Shelter Afrique and another in Nung Oku for housing,noting that after the acquisition processes were completed with the consent of Community, it was later discovered that some people had encroached on the land.
“Upon investigation, the villagers said they were not the ones who encroached on it,saying that since the government bought the land, they never had anything to do with it again”.
“We took the land, surveyed it and shared among the soldiers, some of whom were then Brigadier Generals, now Major Generals as well as the Commissioners of Police, but each time the allottees, go there, the report is that the host youths do not allow the Surveyors to carry out their duties”. he added
The Commissioner who dismissed the trending reports on the demolitions as falsehood and an attempt by some people to attack his person and his office,by extension the government, said that a certain Leo was identified as the one who instigated the illegal encroachment that led to the sales of the land,maintaining that the government has taken back the land which was duly acquired.
According to the Commissioner, the allottees were Worried by the consistent resistance they got from the youths of the host community becoming angry with the thought that the state government may have lied about giving them the said lands for the housing as was promised ,to the extent that some of them attacked the commissioner through text messages ,calls and all that,that he has refused to give them the land the Governor promised.