Amagu Progressive Forum has described the allegation of land grabbing levelled against senator Anyim Pius Anyim as spurious, indefensible and unfounded.
In a statement, the chairman of the group, Hon Fabian Osi Uka called on the dissenting few against the decision of Amagu community to develop Ovumte land into a mondern city for the benefit of every indegene to apply restraint in fanning the embers of crises in the community adding that the communal ownership of the land predates every living person in Amagu today.
He urged those that are aggrieved to wait for the resolution of the matter which is already before a competent court of jurisdiction rather than resort to cheap blackmail and unimaginable lies against senator Anyim as the few who perpertrated this act believe that adding his name in the case will attract attention to them.
The group stated that Amagu Development Union (ADU), an umbrella body of Amagu citizens is the highest decision making organ of Amagu Ishiagu Community in Ivo Local Government Area Ebonyi State. The body which has branches in every State of the Federation is responsible for the administration and development of the community; as well as the maintenance of peace and orderliness among the people. It is pertinent to note that Ovumnte which is the area in dispute is not a village in Amagu Community, but rather a farm settlement for all the indigenes of Amagu, and had been so designated since time immemorial, stating that the rule is that for anybody or family to farm in Ovumte land, he would usually notify the community development Union (ADU) who will grant the permission and each farmer farms there as tenant of the community; and also pays tribute periodically to the community in the form of “Orji-Ali” through the ADU leadership.
The group pointed out that In the year 1998, Chief Anyim, Pius Anyim, approached the ADU under the leadership of late Mr. Raymond Chukwu for a parcel of land at Ovumte for residential purposes. The Union was concerned on how Chief Anyim could live in the farm land alone considering that Ovumte is about 15 kilometres from the Amagu community residential area.
In the year 1999, the union approved the request of Chief Anyim after he assured them that he would construct an access road to Ovumte, and when he became a senator, he developed his residence on the parcel of land approved for him after completing all the rites required by the ADU, and thereafter constructed a set of access road into Ovumte land.
In 2001, the ADU set up a Land Use Committee chaired by Late Cosmas Ajah to look into the possibility of parcellating the Ovumte land into residential plots since the present Amagu residential area is already very congested and many of the young ones are coming up strong with a desire for spaces to build their residence at home.
On the submission of its report, the Union decided to convoke a town hall meeting otherwise known as Igbo-Uzo. This meeting involves all male adults in the community from the age of eighteen years and above, and was held at Akanu Village Square to discuss and seek approval of the community on the way forward for Ovumte land. The said Town Hall Meeting held in April, 2001 and approved the conversion of Ovumte land from farm land to residential land.
Following this submission of report of the land committee, the ADU in 2002 convoked another Town Hall Meeting to submit the report and seek further approval and it was unanimously aggreed that each family in the village must get a piece of land, therefore the land committee should undertake a census of the families in the community
By the year 2011, the third town hall meeting was convoked to approve the family enumeration and the meeting held and approved a total of three hundred families and Three hundred plots of one thousand square meters each be set aside for each family who shall pay a token to access it.
That if any family has a farmhouse in Ovumte already, the farm house should be carved into a one thousand square meter plot for that family.
That the rest be parcellated into a two thousand square meter plots and the committee should put a cost to it as the money realized therefrom should be used to service both such plots and the family plots.That provision for schools, recreation, hospital and market should also be made.
This project unfortunately suffered a set back in 2016 following the ill-health and subsequent death of the Chairman of the Land Committee Mr. Cosmas Aja. However, after his burial in October, 2018, the committee was reconstituted under the chairmanship of Pharm. Chinedu Makwe.
The group frowned at the attitude, of Mr Moses Orji, a former education secretary of Ivo local government and one time Caretaker Committee Chairman of old Ohaukwu Local Government Area who was abusing the privilege given to him by Amagu community as one of their son by working against the effort of the community to develop the communal land to a modern city for the benefit of all.
It was noted that Mr Moses in the early 2000 decided to go into farming and the community granted him a space to farm, as every bona fide indigene of Amagu community are granted access to Ovumte land upon the fulfillment of certain conditions and other regulations designed to maintain the communality of the land, where he has continued to pay tribute to the ADU until the present resolve of Amagu Development Union (ADU) to develop the farm settlement into a modern city.
The group stated that it was erroneous for Mr Moses orji to equate long occupation to right of ownership of the land forgetting the condition precedent under which he was granted access in the land .
They decried the twisting of facts, outright provocation, misrepresentation and campaign of calumny embarked upon by Mr orji and his paid agents to divert the attention from the real issue, which is the conversion of communal land by dragging senator Anyim into the matter with the sole aim of attracting sympathy.
The group praised the selfless effort of the land Committee chairman, Pharm Nicholas Makwe who had worked tirelessly at a personal discomfort to advance the cause of the project despite the criticism and abuse of few disgruntled indegene who placed their selfish interest above that of the community.
Consequently, APF call on all concern, who are shopping for every conceivable reason to frustrate the laudable project the community have embarked upon with endless frivolous petitions to the police after their effort so far has failed, to desist forthwith as history would not judge them fairly.
The group praised the courage of some Amagu indegene who were mislead to join the ignominous fight against the community, many of whom had long returned and apologized to the community citing undue influence
The group also commended the former senate president , Chief Anyim pius Anyim for his unrelenting efforts to better the lots of the community despite desperate greed and malicious actions of very few individuals, stating that Amagu community is proud of the effort of Anyim pius Anyim who have over the years changed the fortunes of hundreds of its indigenes through facilitating of their employment in the public and private sector, award of scholarship to indigent students and through Chioma Pius Anyim Foundation, offered succour to many old men and women who are given monthly stipend payment till date.