Land grabbing: Uvwie people ready for show down with Buratai
By Victor Otuya/Wilson Macaulay
The relative peace enjoyed in the Warri axis of the Niger Delta may soon break down as the Uvwie people in Delta state after waiting patiently for so long without getting justice from the Judiciary, the National Assembly and even the presidency have decided to beat drums of war as they are now ready to damn any consequence to resist the continued illegal acquisition and occupation of Uvwie land by the Army authorities under the control of General Buratai whom they alleged has adamantly refused to obey the National Assembly order issued on March 29th 2018 and the presidential order of June 25th 2018.
ln a press release made available to newsmen by the lead counsel to the Uvwie people Chief V. E. Otomiewo stated that the Uvwie people have finally resolved to take their destinies into their hands by resorting to a “show down” with the authorities of the Nigerian Army over their audacious refusal to obey the National Assembly and the Presidential Order aforesaid mentioned.
Chief Otomiewo asserted that since Nigerian Army Authority has bluntly refused to comply with the order of Mr. President and the House of Representative Committee on public petition, the Uvwie people are left with no other option than to resort to a “show down” with the Army authorities.
Chief Otomiewo, the lead counsel, going down the memory lane recalled that sometime in December 2017 and January 2018, the Uvwie people took their agitations for the release of their land by the Army Authorities to the House of Representatives Committee on public petitions, and they were able to make out a case to the committee for the release of their lands, as the Army high command was unable to produce a single document to establish their continuous hold on to the land of the Uvwie people under the guise of a supposed acquisition.
Chief V. E. Otomiewo contended further that the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions by its letter of 31st January 2018 signed by the Committee Chairman – Hon. Uzoma Nkem Abonta and addressed to the Inspector General of Police, a copy of which was made available to the Press, the House of Representatives directed the Inspector General of Police to detail men of the Nigeria Police to Uvwie Local Government Area to protect Uvwie people from further harassment and molestation by the Nigerian Army.
He explained during the media chat that the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions, also by its letter of 29th March 2018 addressed to the Chief of Army Staff and the Commanding Officer. 3rd Battalion, Nigerian Army, Effurun Barracks and signed by the Chairman of the Committee on Public Petitions, a copy of which was made available to the press directed the Chief of Army Staff to stop any kind of work on the land pending the final resolution of the House on the petition of the Uvwie People.
Speaking further, Otomiewo said; In June 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the Army High Command to stop the selling of the land of the Uvwie people to private developers. Instead of adhering to the President’s Order, the Army High command has been persistent in their activities for selfish reason.
He disclosed that recently, the Army invaded Ohorhe town, an Uvwie community sharing boundary with the land supposedly acquired by the Army and planted several sign posts with the inscription – “ARMY LAND, KEEP OFF”.
According to him, the military authorities have concluded plans to invade the town and pull down every structure with a view to mark plots of the land out for sale to private developers through the instrumentality of the Nigerian Army Properties Limited, a company incorporated by the Army authorities with Gen. Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff as one of its directors.
The piqued Otomiewo while describing the situation the Uvwie people found themselves as unbearable, maintained during the media parley that; “as the lead counsel to the Uvwie people, I can attest to it that the army has not been able to produce cast iron alibi, evidence or documents beside the unconvincing 1974 gazette to legitimate the acquisition notice, the boundaries of which they have far gone beyond, adding that what we are facing today in Uvwie Kingdom is worse than what Namibia, Mozambique and Soweto passed through when they had similar experience.”
Otomiewo in his summation posited and stressed that the Uvwie people have decided to take their destinies in their hands and have risen up in unity with one voice to decisively say enough is definitely enough of the Buratai yoke which must be broken.
Placard carrying protesting women who were highly agitated vehemently spoke against the army occupation of Uvwie land.
Mrs. Nightingale Chunu, Mrs Victoria Ifife, Mrs Sarah Agoda and Mrs Magaret Egbenive who spoke on behalf of the mammoth crowd of the protesting women maintained that there will be no peace until the army vacates their land chanting war songs and calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to come to their aid.
They all expressed optimism standing on the principles of equity and justice that with God on their side, the Uvwie people will prevail in the battle against the army land grabbing attitude and their rude behavior of flouting a Presidential and a National Assembly order.