Youths have threatened to sell a mass of land proposed as airport site by Anambra State government.
On Friday, no fewer than 2, 000 youths in Oba, Idemili South Local Government Area of the state took to the streets to protest the state government’s neglect of their area, vowing to sell off the abandoned site for the Anambra State International Airport.
The youths expressed displeasure over the government’s refusal to start the airport project for a long time, thereby depriving them of the use of the land for farming and other activities.
The Anambra International Airport site at Oba was acquired in the Second Republic by the old Anambra State government, comprising the present Enugu, Anambra and some parts of Ebonyi.
The protesters said all attempts by successive governments to develop the facility had failed.
Commercial activities were disrupted in the area following the protest by the youths over the controversy surrounding the sale, acquisition and development of the facility.
The demonstrators also protested at the palace of the traditional ruler of Oba, Igwe Peter Ezenwa, who urged them to be peaceful and calm.
A source told SUNDAY PUNCH that the state government had allegedly re-allocated 25 per cent of the 580 hectares of land to its original owners.
Rejecting the appeal by the traditional ruler and the elders of the community not to sell the land as it had not been fully released by the state government to the community, the youths took to the street, chanting anti-government songs.
They blocked the Onitsha/Nnewi Old Road thereby disrupting vehicular movement in the area for more than four hours.
The youths said they would not accept any attempt to the community from benefitting economic development they were promised by a group in the state, Shoe Dealers Association, alleged to be making plans to acquire and develop the land.
Reacting, Ezenwa told reporters that the youths of the town mostly from the Oba community had “balkanised the land measuring about 580 hectares, selling it at a give-away price without waiting for the Anambra State government which promised to return 25 per cent of the land to the community.”
He said since the land had not been returned to the community, it would be an act of lawlessness for anybody to go and start selling the land for whatsoever purpose.
The traditional ruler said, “The state government has withdrawn from the proposed airport project, the community has been waiting for the state’s surveyor-general to give the final demarcation on the 25 per cent of the 580 hectares of the land it promised to return to the owners.
“Most of the youth masquerading as land owners in the abandoned airport project land have no land there, but are being sponsored by some land speculators who deceived them by giving them peanuts.”