Afikpo Community Disagree Over Telecom Project

By Ruth Oginyi

 

To boost telecommunications services in Afikpo North, one of the telecommunications companies in Nigeria have declared interest to establishing a mast in Eziukwu Ewa, Amaikwo in Afikpo North Local Government Area of the State.

But the proposed project has ignited a serious misunderstanding between the residents of the community who is accusing some of the stakeholders of not carrying everyone along in the project.

Report says the indigenes of Eziukwu Ewa, Amaikwo over the weekend disagreed over the setting up of the telecommunication mast without a unanimous decision of members of the Eziukwu.

The misunderstanding in Amaikwo was triggered by the construction of a building on an access road leading to the home of one their son called, Titus Obila-Joseph.

When Mr. Titus who is a surveyor observed the wrong steps being taken by his people; he questioned the irregularities associated with the setting up of a telecommunication mast in the area and blocking access road to his house.

It was gathered that the transaction for the citing of the mast was headed by a few stakeholders in the community who allegedly failed to represent the interest of the entire Eziukwu.

Investigation revealed that a section of the Eziukwu elders that wanted transparency in the transaction process that brought a Telecommunication Company were allegedly being challenged by youths loyal to some stakeholders in the community.

Speaking to newsmen on the development, Surveyor Titus Obila-Joseph the man who was denied access to his home condemned the level of gangsterism going on in the village by a section of stakeholder in the area who wants to hijack community properties.

Surveyor Titus said, “It is very clear that nobody is at home with the present development in the community where someone decides to erect a building on an access road against the wishes of the people.”

“I’m not the only person using the access road. The wireless company entered a deal with a stakeholder. We told the company that one person cannot carry out such deal in the community and the deal is for 5 years.”

“The stakeholder that brought the telecom company decided to call a town hall meeting, when members of the community started asking questions. I was angry when I asked for the MOU and a photocopy of the cheque given to the community for the project.”

“Because of my input, access road to my home was blocked as a building was erected on it. Blocking my access is their own way of meeting up with their target of eliminating me.”

“I’m not the only person opposing the development. The police told us to talk about peace instead of violence. When I went to the site, I was attacked by some boys. The construction is on. When the DPO went there, they attacked him. It is an act of wickedness and expression of accumulated animosity against me. I have not slept in my house because there is no access to my house. The town planning had gone there and placed stop work sign on it.”

The President of Eziukwu Ewa Welfare Union, Chief Nkama Ibila in his submission, described the development as unhealthy and inimical to the progress of the Eziukwu Ewa village, pointing out that without peace, no community or people can record any substantial development.

He said, “What we usually do is to mop up resources and offer scholarship to indigent members of the community, but now due to the activities of some selfish stakeholders, that project can no longer come to fruition.”

“It is clear to everybody that it is not healthy. Blocking somebody’s entrance with a building is bad. There must be an agreement and an MOU before you set up a telecommunication mast. The whole thing was done by one person.”

“Even when police came to the site where the structure was being erected, they attacked them. We know what a company pays for putting up a mast. The whole exercise was fraudulently done. There is no peace there. Before now, we use community money to train the less privileged ones but now it is used for legal tussle. They are laughing at us. Where there is no peace, there will be no development. ”

But Chief Sam Ohuche who is in support of the telecommunications mast said that where the building was situated belonged to the community and not a single individual as alleged by the surveyor.

Chief Ohuche  said, “The matter is with the police and other security agents and so they should go and sort themselves out”.

When contacted on phone, the Police Public Relations Officer Ebonyi State Police Command, DSP Loveth Odah, said that the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Afikpo North LGA was yet to brief her office about the development in the area .

She said her office will get back to the press when such report comes.

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