Land owners of cash crops uprooted due to the on-going excavation of debris along Otanmiri stream in Owerri, Imo State, have described the state government led by Owelle Rochas Okorocha as being insensitive to their plight.
The land which belongs to Umu Oyima Owerri in Imo State before the excavation exercise was used for farm activities.
When this reporter visited today, some villagers at the scene were busy picking remnants of their crops and wondered why the state government did not give them notice before the exercise. They expressed shock over the sudden action.
An elderly man of the village who did not want his name mentioned said the action of the government “though is developmental in approach, lacks consideration in its implementation,” adding that the government should learn to negotiate with the people before executing their action.
A woman who introduced herself as Nkechi was seen with her children harvesting the yet to be excavated area. She condemned the action, describing it as sudden. She noted that it could impoverish the villagers.
She stressed that government should consult the people to avoid increasing their hardship. She called on the government to make sure that the project that will be cited there will give opportunities for the unemployed in the society.
A young man, Okechuku Amadi, who was gathering objects from the excavation process said that for over 12 years no government had remembered the area for any “project”, noting that the on-going infrastructure development in the state “has prompted the development of the under developed area in the state.” He however advised the government to consider compensation and also establish cordial relationship with the people.
The Imo State commissioner for works, Ichie Best Mbanaso, has repeatedly said that the government would commence the establishment of tourist centers along the rivers and the construction of flyovers to ease traffic.
At the time of filling this report, the villagers have yet to receive any form of compensation.
Chinonso Alozie is a journalist based in Owerri, Imo State. He can be reached at Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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