OPEN LETTER TO HIS EXCELLENCY, SENATOR HOPE UZODINMA
It is with utmost respect and honour that we, the concerned citizens of Ohaoma, Oguta LGA, write this letter to Your Excellency. The Ohaoma communities in Oguta LGA include Agwa, Ejemekwuru, Akabor, Izombe, Awa, Abiaziem, Mgbele, Nkwesi, Nnebukwu, Orsu-Obodo, Eziorsu and Kalabari Beach. The above named forum, the Ohaoma Progressive Group, is a socio-philanthropic, non-political, non-religious worldwide organisation committed to the socio-economic wellbeing and development of Ohaoma geopolitical towns mentioned above.
We write on behalf of the aforementioned communities to express our collective concern and dismay over a recent land search and speculative visit on our ancestral lands for a proposed government acquisition for an unverified Agro-Allied Meat-Processing project, by a team which claimed to be from the Imo State Deputy Governor’s Office, and which surprisingly included the Oguta LGA Interim Management Committee Chairman..
Your Excellency, we would like to draw your attention to the recent surprise land allocation overtures and drone surveillance over parcels of community land situated within the Ohaoma communities of Ejemekwuru-Akabor-Agwa-Izombe by agents of Imo State Government for an alleged agro-allied and undefined cow/meat processing project. More disturbing was the unilateral action with which the group illegally carried out aerial drone surveillance over the said farmland areas without prior landowners’ consent. Reliable information at our disposal has revealed that the real motive behind the proposed land acquisition is for settlement of Fulani herdsmen and RUGA colonisation setup.
It might be pertinent at this juncture to remind Your Excellency that our local communities are agrarian and predominantly subsistence farmers, relying solely on their ancestral farmlands for farming and survival. One then begins to wonder the rationale for choosing our zone, a 100% non- cattle rearing area, of all places in Imo State. It is a well known fact that our communities have had several ugly encounters, including kidnapping, rape and even brutal murders in the past in the hands of marauding armed Fulani herdsmen. One of the encounters culminated in the recent brutal murder of an Umuekpu-Agwa local farmer (one Late Mr Ozoemena Iriaka) in his farmland by the same herdsmen. We are opposed to Fulani herdsmen occupying the lands in our communities because our children and future generations unborn, not to mention the present generation, will suffer the consequences.
Besides, given that our area boasts of one of the highest population densities in Nigeria today, Ohaoma feeder communities especially Agwa, Ejemekwuru, Akabor and Izombe have no land to spare for housing any herders project under any guise, no matter how genuine the intentions may be. Moreover, the South East Governors Forum recently stated unequivocally and rightly too, that there is no available land in the entire Southeast (Imo and our Ohaoma communities inclusive) for any Fulani herdsmen colonisation under whatever guise.
Your Excellency, permit us Sir, to ask the following prima facie questions, amongst others:
(a) From where will the cows to be slaughtered and processed, be coming from?
(b) Will the cows not be managed by herdsmen armed with AK 47?
(C) As cows are heavy feeders, how will they feed and with what quantum of fodder (if with fodder, from where), without resorting to open grazing in the various farms of our people?
(d) What about the impact of environmental pollution, associated ecological damages and problems the cow rearing and meat processing business will leave in our communities?
(e) Where will our children, grandchildren and future generations unborn farm and build their own houses if our community lands are taken away from us?
In the light of the foregoing, we make bold to state and conclude as follows:
1. Agwa, Ejemekwuru, Izombe and Akabor Communities and the other communities in Ohaoma, are not cattle rearing communities and do not need any such masked ill-intentioned venture(s) no matter the heading.
2. The said communities are opposed to their scarce farmlands being used for setting up any Agro-Allied Meat-Processing project or setting up Fulani colonies/RUGA by any person(s), group(s) or government.
3. Ohaoma communities especially Agwa, Ejemekwuru, Izombe and Akabor are traditionally peace-loving and law-abiding. We pray and plead that Imo State Government should allow this state of affairs to remain by avoiding unpopular ventures that can lead to a possible breach of the peace.
We therefore appeal to Your Excellency to use your good offices as the governor of Imo State to call the masterminds and conduits of this unpopular move to order.
We pray that Almighty God will continue to grant you the wisdom to enable you perform your executive duties in fairness, justice and equity.
Dr Humphrey Ugo (Australia) – From Agwa
Barrister Richard Ugo (UK) – From Agwa
Austin Achunine (UK) – From Ejemekwuru
Hon. Chief Ifeanyi Nnadi (Canada) – From Ejemekwuru
Goddy Achunine (UK) – From Ejemekwuru
Mrs Georgina Chima (USA) – From Akabor
Mr Leo Achunine (UK) – From Ejemekwuru
Mrs Concilia Alionye Mbawuike (USA) – From Ejemekwuru
Professor Goddy Obodo – From Agwa
Dr Amanze Obi – From Agwa
Professor Amanze Unagha – From Agwa
Barrister Benson Akunya – From Agwa
Hon. Williams Ejiakor – From Agwa
Professor Angus Unegbu – From Agwa
Chief Nduka Ozor – From Agwa
His Eminence Apostle General Jude Obiwuru – From Agwa
Pharm Bertram Alakam – From Agwa
Chief Hyginus lzunwanne — From Agwa
Mr Aham Ajokubi — From Agwa
Barrister Dom Akabuiro — From Agwa
Mrs Ebere Gabriella Ikpa – From Ejemekwuru
Hon. Chief Frank Olekamma – From Ejemekwuru
Mrs Rose Emeh – From Ejemekwuru
Comrade (Engr) Ekeh Ifeanyi Chimezie – From Ejemekwuru
Hon. Henry Ikeokwu — From Akabor
Hon. Edward Onyejiawa — From Akabor
Chief Moses Emejuru — From Akabor
September 15, 2021.