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We Will Resist PRESCO From Taking Our Lands —Umiaghwa-Abraka Kingdom Monarch

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The Ovie of Umiaghwa-Abraka Kingdom, HRM Air Vice-Marshall (AVM) Lucky Ochuko Ararile (Rtd.), Avwaeke 1, has said that his kingdom will resist the takeover by PRESCO PLC of the land of Etefe, an agrarian community under his jurisdiction.
Speaking at his palace in Oria recently, the monarch disclosed that the land where Etefe has been living from time immemorial is now in dispute between Edo State Government (which allegedly leased the said land to PRESCO) and his people in Etefe, adding that action has been taken in court to challenge the eviction threat to force a whole community into extinction.

Chiefs from Umiaghwa-Abraka Kingdom in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State during their visit to Etefe Community.

According to him, Umiaghwa-Abraka Kingdom is a semi-urban community with cassava farming as the mainstay of her economy.
He said: “After ascending the throne, I decided to engage the youths through agriculture to curb youth restiveness as a result of unemployment.
“We secured the partnership of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture who contracted a private company to provide seedlings, fertilizer and clearing, while the community farmers were involved with harvesting and selling to the same company at an agreed market price. But now, they cannot bring the plant in because we have not guaranteed them the land. The plan was to make available 240 metric tonnes per day cassava mill available.
He added: “The company is not making profits because they have to take the harvested cassava to Lagos and they pay heavily to do this.
“We were only able to work on 400 hectares of the land against the intended 2000 because of the problem of ownership. The land has been under contest between Delta and Edo States after the creation of both states. The boundary between both states has not been demarcated, but whether that happens or not, the issue of ownership will not be contested because Etefe community has been there for decades.
“I am told by PRESCO that they have been given a C of O to plant palm trees and rubber. They have forcefully taken land from the Western axis. They have just got to our community and we have been resisting and will continue to resist them. Other communities have gone to court to get court injunctions against PRESCO, but they have refused to abide by these. We are equally in court.
“I have written to the IG of Police, AIG Zone 5 and the Delta State Commissioner of Police, but yet to get any response. Rather, PRESCO moves around in the area with mobile policemen as escorts.
“I do not want to do things illegally, but want to follow the law.”
According to him, the quality of garri in Nigeria is measured by Abraka garri standard, adding that the garri produced in the area is the best in the country.
A high powered delegation of chiefs were recently sent by the royal father to the community where they met with some persons who claimed they were staff of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and were there to scale the place in preparations for the bulldozing of the farms in the area.
Meanwhile, during a protest rally staged at the village square on Wednesday March 28, 2018, residents said that they were tired of continued harassment and intimidation by staff members of PRESCO.
The people stressed that that they have been living in Etefe village for a long time and that they have no place to park to if PRESCO succeeds in ejecting them from the community.


They called on the state Governor, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa to urgently prevail on the company to put their eviction order on hold and save them of the impending hunger they would suffer if this move by PRESCO sails through.
According to the lawmaker representing Ethiope East Constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. (Chief) Evance Ivwurie, the annexation by PRESCO of Ethiope East community land of Okpara Waterside, Igun, Eku and Abraka spans over 14, 000 hectares of land.

 

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