Oriuzor Women Protest over Proposed Airport Site

By Alo David

Aged mothers numbering over two hundred from Oriuzor Community in Ezza North Local Government Area have taken to peaceful demonstration on Wednesday 10th July, 2019, appealing to Ebonyi State Government to change the location of the proposed airport site from Nduegu Azu Oriuzor to Egundeze where there is spacious land enough for the project.

The women were seen with placard bearing different inscriptions such as ”Take Egundeze, Leave our Ancestral Home”, ”We Have Empty Space at Egundeze”, ”Governor Umahi Hear Us, ”Our Governor Come to Our Aid” and many others.

Addressing the protesters at the palace of the traditional Ruler of Oriuzor Community, His Royal Highness Ezeogo Gabriel Nwite Ngele stated that since all  land belong to the government that people should exercise patience until the true site is mapped out, that the real location for the airport was still on inspection, hence, all the affected people would be compensated to get new homes.

According to him ”I am not the one who chose the land for the Government but they came to us from Abuja that they are to build airport in our community and I sent one of my sons who joined them during their inspection which they earlier proposed Nwaswa-oga as the boundary but later said it will be at Ndiegu–Azu, and we know that it is government that own all of us even the land in contention.

”Presently, the Governor is yet to speak concerning the site and those inspecting the land has not given us a clear boundary of where the airport will be sited and if they do, those affected must be compensated, so, we should not be saying that Egundeze is free because there are people living over there, besides, the land is not up to 2 kilometres at same time, we should know that site for airport is not chosen like we are building houses wherever we like.

”Every Oriuzor man is living in his ancestral home which means that if affected persons are to pack out it demands they will be given alternatively place which the government is up and doing to offer. We should rather pray that if the airport will bring good fortune to us, it should come but if otherwise let it not come. I know that many of you are widows and I feel your pains but we are not going to stop what is coming to us.

However, the traditional ruler harped that the community has placed ban on cult activities in the area, he therefore, enjoined the protesters to call their children who are into cult groups to come out and renounce their membership as the community leaders are making serious plan to clamp down on members and are ready to die with them if they refuse to repent.

While addressing the group at Government House Gate, a representative of Chief of Staff, Chief Emmanuel Ofor Okorie and a police officer who read out message said to have been received from the chief, appealed to the protesters to come back later that their case would be attended to.

In an interview, leaders of the group, Mrs. Ikekwu Christiana, Mrs. Azuonuoku Comfort, and Nworie Regina appealed to the state government not to site the airport in their ancestral home since they have no other place to go, rather proposed that it should be moved to Egundeze, a distant village she said that has less inhabitants and still spacious enough to accommodate the project.

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