By Nwogha Ndubuisi, Abakaliki
Comrade Obeji Linus, the chairman of Abakaliki Rice Mill Owners Association has applauded the governor of Ebonyi State, Rt Hon Francis Nwifuru on his recent move to stop land encroachment of the Abakaliki rice mill company.
Obeji also urged alleged illegal occupants of the land to comply with the state government’s directives to present their land entitlement documents within one week or face the wrath of the law.
This came following the recent visit of the state government’s delegates to the rice mill facility, led by the commissioner for lands, Hon. Mathew Nwobasi.
The commissioner, who led the delegates in the company of the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on lands, Mr Benjamin Ezeoma, and the surveyor general, Mr John E, pointed out that they were there to investigate and determine the degree of people’s encroachment into the land allocated to the company.
“I want to use this opportunity to thank the Governor of Ebonyi State, His Excellency, R t Hon Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru for his presence at Abakaliki rice mill company.
“This week, we had visitors from the government, made of the commissioner of lands, Hon. Matthew Nwobasi, the SSA on lands, the surveyor general of Ebonyi State.
“They came to investigate and determine the degree of people’s encroachment into the Abakaliki rice mill company”. Obeji said.
According to the chairman, the land where the Abakaliki rice mill company is currently situated was allocated to the rice mill company before the creation of Ebonyi State, in the old Anambra state, through the Abakaliki local government system.
“Consequent upon that, it was principally mapped out for a layout, to establish rice processing center, which is the biggest rice cluster in the whole of West Africa”. he said.
However, ascertaining the level of encroachments, the State government, through the office of the Commissioner for Lands has ordered all occupants other than the rice mill company to verify their ownership within one week.
“In our usual way, we have officially written to all the occupants of this area for proper documentation, using this opportunity to let them know that we are serious.
“We have a governor who is very determined to change the history of the Abakaliki rice mill and the common people in the State.
“Therefore, they should as a matter of urgency, submit all their titled documents to the office of the Commissioner for Lands within one week”. he cautioned.
Our correspondent learnt that the administration of the former governor, Chief Martins Elechi had built a health center for the people of Abakaliki rice mill company, but discovered that it had been thwarted by the activities of these trespassers.
Expressing his displeasure, Comrade Obeji said;
“It is this bad that even the hospital built by the State Government under Elechi’s administration is invaded by some few individuals, and somebody somewhere is collecting the rent, it is inhuman.
“It is pitiable that all the primary objective of allocating the land has been thwarted by some few individuals”. he added.
Meanwhile, the chairman has expressed confidence that the Abakaliki rice mill company can supply rice across the country and beyond, noting that before now, the company used to load more than 20 trucks of trailers for supplies in one day.