Nteje community in Oyi Council Area of Anambra State is calling on the state government to implement the White Paper on the recommendations of a Panel of Enquiry it set up on the Ivite Nteje land crises.
The panel was set up in June 2022 by former Governor Willie Obiano and had presented its findings to the State Government in November 2021.
However, since then, nothing has been heard of the government document.
A major recommendation of the panel was that all the lands illegally sold by some youths in the community without the consent of the rightful owners, should revert to the original owners.
At a general meeting of Nteje Development Union (NDU) held on Thursday at Central Primary School Field, Nteje, the various sections of the community including youths and women groups, the elders, the religious and traditionalists unanimously lent their voices to call on the state government to revisit the white paper with a view to implementing the recommendations.
Conveying the agreement of his people to TNC correspondent in Anambra after the meeting, the caretaker President General of the town, Chief Chidiebere Obika noted that implementation of the white paper will solve over 60 percent of the land issues in the community.
According to Obika, it is worrisome that a year after the White Paper was developed, nothing has been done towards implementing it.
“What is happening in our town about illicit sale of land by some youths was so bad in 2020 that the state government instituted a panel of inquiry headed by Retired Air Vice Marshal Ben Chiobi to look into the matter, identify the root causes and advise government accordingly.
“The committee had invited persons, conducted interview and took memoranda and later submitted their findings to government in November 2021.
“One of their recommendations was that all the lands sold illegally by these youths without the consent of the original owners will return to the owners and that is the position of the community.
“That is why we are calling on the state government to implement the recommendations as the only way to end the land crises in our community,” Obika said.
Obika said the implication of not implementing the white paper is that illegal sale of land perpetrated by some errant youths in the community will continue and the even government lands will not be spared.
“As at today, the Nteje Boys High School is at risk of being entirely shut down because these youths have sold parts of the school.
“The land for Oyi township stadium which government envisioned has also been encroached on by these same people, who call themselves land management committee.
“Also, part of the recommendations of this panel is that there is nothing like land management committee because they have no egal backing, just some youths who organized themselves into a syndicate to sell communal lands,” he explained.
The president general also said the community has handed peddlers and consumers of hard drugs including marijuana, cocaine and crystal meth popularly known as ‘mkpuru mmiri’, a two-week ultimatum to leave the community or face severe actions.
According to him, the sale and consumption of hard drugs was at the root of all the crimes and criminality going on in the community.
The community leader also said his executive has already put machineries in place to ensure the smooth conduct of election into the town union executives by December this year.
According to him, peace is gradually returning to the community with the efforts of his administration at ousting some of the criminals who have held the community hostage for a long time and Nteje people can now sleep with their eyes closed.