By Ikeugonna Eleke
The people of Nteje Community in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State, have protested the naming of the state’s airport after their neighbour, Umueri Community.
The Anambra Cargo and Passenger Airport, which is known more as Umueri Airport, was named after Umueri Community of Anambra East Local Government Area.
But during a meeting of the caretaker committee of Nteje Development Union (NDU) at the weekend, the community protested the decision by the former Governor Willie Obiano-led administration to name the airport after Umueri, when, according to Nteje Community, 70 per cent of the land housing the airport was donated by them.
The president general of the community, Mr Chidiebele Obika, who presided over the meeting, called on the current governor of the state, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, to quickly review the status of the airport with a view to recognizing Nteje Community for her contributions.
‘You know the very land on which the airport is sitting on is 70 percent Nteje land. We donated 500 hectares of land for that project, while Umueri donated 400.
‘They (Umueri) later protested that they no longer had land on which to farm and that after that protest, the government gave them back 200 hectares. The government knows this and has acknowledged so by even paying us compensation. So, why is the airport bearing Umueri Airport and not Nteje Airport?
‘We also donated the major expressway to the airport which was not paid for because you don’t pay for roads. We donated over 5 kilometers of roads for the dual carriage way, so why then can we not be recognized. We are tempted to ask what manner of politics government is playing with people’s property.
‘We are calling on the Government of Anambra State to do well by recognising Nteje, both in the siting of the airport and its running, which, we know, that our people are also contributing in,’ Obika stated.
The community also called on the state government to implement the recommendation of a white paper made by a panel constituted by the former governor, Chief Willie Obiano, in June 2020, and headed by AVM Ben Chiobi (RTD).
He said the implementation of the white paper, which, he said, also called for revocation of all illegally sold landed property and stoppage of any further sale, would stem the tide of crime and unrest in the community.