We’ve certificate of occupancy-Navy HQ
PEOPLE of Oghara community in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State have protested against the illegal possession of their land by the Nigerian Navy Logistic Command, Oghara, appealing to the Federal Government to ask the Navy to immediately vacate their land for the interest of peace. The protesters, who blocked the ever busy Benin-Warri expressway, grounded vehicular movement for close to an hour. Some of the placards displayed by the protesters read, ‘Navy Leave Our Land Alone,’ ‘Our land is our oil,’ ‘Navy is Water, Not Land,’ ‘Our Land Is Our Life,’ ‘Get-off Our Land,’ etc. Addressing newsmen on behalf of the people, a pan Nigerian group, Oghara Centre for Social Justice, OCSJ, asked President Buhari to order the navy to move back to the area initially allocated to them. They also asked the President
to order the Nigerian Navy to tear down the fence covering areas far and above 500mx500m initially allocated to them, and initiate a process to pay damages and compensate their people who have suffered loss and infraction due to trespass on their land. The community asked the navy to “refrain from further despoiling and destroying of cash crops on our land which form the mainstay of income for our people and return our illegally acquired land to us in the interest of peace in Oghara and Delta State.” But the Nigerian Navy headquarters said it has the certificate of occupancy for the said land, even as it appealed to the aggrieved members of the host community to kindly channel their complaint to the appropriate authority rather than take laws into their hands. Navy’s Director of Information, Commodore Christian Odogwu Ezekobe, said in a statement in Abuja yesterday that, “It is on record that an initial allocation of 213 hectres of land was given to the Service by the Delta State Government in 2008 for the construction of NN Barracks. However, due to the nature of facilities planned for the Barracks, the NN viewed that there was a need for a more expansive area, hence an additional request was made to the Delta State Government following which 30 hectres of land previously ceded to the Mobile Police was re-allocated to the NN. Consequently, the Mobile Police was relocated to Ogharofe another community around the area. “In view of the additional 30 hectres of land allocated to the NN, the Delta State Government issued a duly certified Certificate of Occupancy, C of O, for 243 hectres of land to the NN. Additionally, the Headquarters Naval Logistics Command which sits on 5 hectres of land was also issued a duly certified C of O in favour of the NN. Meanwhile another parcel of land which measures 78 hectres was also acquired by the NN for the purpose of an Airstrip. For this parcel of land, the Delta State Government has issued an R of O. “It is worthwhile to mention
that the 243 hectres of land is being fenced in phases which the NN suspects may be the reason for claims of illegal encroachment by the host communities, resulting to agitation for compensation. The NN however wishes to state that the parcels of land were validly allocated and certified by the Delta State Government. It is also pertinent to note that the NN has not encroached on the community land and has no mandate for compensation as it remains the prerogative of the Delta State Government. “As an institution that practices fairness and respects the rights of citizens, the NN hereby assures the good people of Oghara of its resolve to preserve the peace and tranquility of the host community. But in a swift reaction to the allegation of illegally acquiring the people’s land, the Flag Officer Commanding Logistics Command, Oghara, Rear Admiral Begjoy Ibe-Enwo denied the allegation, saying the Navy was not in Oghara to illegally acquire any land. Earlier, the Navy Logistic
Command, Rear Admiral Ibe- Enwo told a press conference that all lands acquired by navy were legal. Clarifying the issue of the land, the Commanding Officer, explained that the state government under the administration of the immediate past government of Delta State, gave them the land in question with a certificate of occupancy in 2015. He said the navy was in Oghara based on high level strategic consideration which led to the choice of Oghara being a logistics command. He said, “For overriding public interest the land was given to the navy. The Initial space was 30 hectares which was not enough. We requested for additional land and it was granted us. About 213 hectares of land was added to the 30 hectares of land initially given to us. “It was based on Strategic consideration that the land was extended. The Barracks is 243 hectares; the Airstream 78 hectares, while the Logistic complex is 5 hectares.”

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