Some indigenes of Abak Local government area in Akwa Ibom State have written a petition to the House of Representative against the Nigerian Army for what they called ‘Acquisition of land without proper compensation’.
The petition was presented by the member repenting Abak/Etim, Ekpo/Ika federal constituency of Akwa Ibom State; Hon. Clement Jimbo (APC), at the plenary on Tuesday. The aggrieved indigenes are from five villages, in Abak LGA. The villages includes; Bagwa, Ikot Afaha, Okon, Itung and Mbarakom.
They filed the petition under the aegis of Wellington Bassey Barracks Community Development forum. The petitioners alleged that the land which belonged to the community was purchased by the Nigerian Army in 1972, to set up the cantonment 6 battalion, Wellington Bassey barracks, along Abak/ Ikot Abasi road.
Quoting a newspaper report, the resident claimed that part payment of 2.1 million was made available to the community in 1980, with the balance sum of 2.3 million left unpaid till date.
The petition read “all efforts made to get the Nigerian Army Authorities to comply with the agreement for the payment of the outstanding sum in the year 2002, were fruitless”
“Concerted efforts were made to get full payment in 2002, but it proved abortive,” the petition reads.
“It beats our imagination whether the full payment of the compensation will be made on the rapture day for our ancestors to have a second share.
“The Army team that conducted the first cognizance exercise as far back as August 1972 did see that the land where the Army Cantonment and Army Barracks is situated was not previously a virgin land nor a disputed land.
“It was a residential area which the Army compulsorily acquired and are enjoying our God-given economic trees and crops which abound all over our land free of charge, from the inception to date, to the exclusion and detriment of the rightful owners.”
The petitioners are demanding that the military authorities pay them the full outstanding sum with the current inflation and exchange rate fluctuations.
The residents also asked the house to ensure that the army pays all accrued royalties to the communities from 1977 to date.
The petitioners called for the construction of Ibagwa, Okonn, Itung and Abak Usung Atai roads to ease transportation within the communities.