Dakkada Estate debacle: Don’t steal our lands for private venture – Uruan communities warn
-threaten blockage of Airport Road during next protest
By Ofonime Honesty
Members of Ibiaku Ishiet community and Ibiaku Obio Ndobo Community in Uruan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State have protested, calling on the state government to pay compensation for plots of land spanning about 167.9 hectares, site for the proposed Dakkada Housing Estate.
Members of both communities numbering over a thousand decried that 12 years after the large expanse of land was acquired by government, funds have not been released for compensation. This is despite government’s decision to commence developing the land.
Our reporters sighted various earthmoving equipment and some workers on the site during the protest on Tuesday.
The protesters, however, forced the workers to stop work.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, a member of Ibiaku Ishiet community, Hon. Nsikan Uko, said despite a valid court order, their compensation is yet to paid.
Uko revealed that in October 2019, the government apparently released funds for the payment via the office of the Accountant General. He, however, highlighted that the immediate past Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Arc. Ime Ekpo (Late), proposed to pay half of the 650 Million Naira agreed by all parties, a decision which triggered a legal suit by both communities after efforts to address the situation proved abortive.
He referenced the 2019 Audit Report of the State Government which shows that funds for the compensation was duly released to the Ministry of Lands and Housing.
On his part, Chief Edet Joe Mboho, Chairman, Ibiaku Obio Ndobo village council, lamented that the protracted issue led to the murder of their village head, Chief Tom Akpan Effiong, by unknown assassins who thought he had secretly collected the compensation meant for the community.
“He was shot dead because of this case. Government has taken our land, we have suffered enough, we need compensation, we are not trying to stop work but we need our money,” he stressed.
A family head in the community, Chief Effiong Edet Ukpe decried that his people now lack enough land for agriculture due to the large expanse seized for the estate.
He added: “For instance, we used to eke a living by engaging in palm oil business, but that has reduced now because most of our oil palm trees have now been uprooted by government. We have to be compensated.”
Youth Secretary of Obio Ndobo, Daniel Archibong Effiong also lamented the loss of his village head to assassins.
Mrs. Esther Umoren from Ibiaku Ishiet community called on the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, to wade in and compel the Ministry of Lands and Housing to release the compensation in full.
Some of the protesters threatened that on their next protest, they would barricade the dual-carriage way which leads to the Victor Attah International Airport.