We’ve paid over 70 per cent compensation to land owners
Widows in Obudu council of Cross River State have cried out over the state government’s acquisition of over nine square kilometres of their ancestral land for international and cargo airport project.
The widows, who protested recently in Obudu, expressed regret re-electing Governor Ben Ayade in the March ballot.
Ayade and his kinsmen from Okambi, Igwo, Atiekpe and Ikwormikwu communities have locked horns over the proposed international and cargo airport project in Obudu. The people were miffed that the project would claim their land – their means of livelihood.
Reports have it that the Margaret Ekpo International Airport is under-utilised while the Bebi Airstrip in Bekwara council is moribund; hence the people suspect that the new project would waste more land that would have been useful for farming.
The widows from the four communities lamented that their palm plantations and other farms worth hundreds of millions of naira had been destroyed.
Speaking on behalf of the widows, Mrs. Agnes Agba complained that they had been suffering since the state government decided to take over their lands.
There are also reports that the government was forcefully taking the lands.
Another widow, Mrs. Theresa Ushie, narrated, “I was sleeping that fateful night when a group of armed youths broke my windows and glasses and tried to gain access into my house. They would have gained entry, but for the metal burglary proof.
“They are using thugs and armed men to terrorise us because we said we don’t want airport. They have destroyed my farm and crops. I mainly plant rice, cocoa, groundnut and other crops.
“Since I lost my husband, I am like a father and mother at the same time. I now beg for food, even cassava, because the ones in my farm have been destroyed because of the airport.”
But the state government put a lie to their claims, saying over 70 per cent compensation had been paid to the owners of the lands acquired.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Technical Matters, Eric Akpo, said, “It is not true that widows, youths or anybody for that matter are being attacked in Obudu over the proposed Obudu international and cargo airport. It is totally false. Why will they protest when we have paid over 70 per cent of the compensation for the lands acquired?