Youths from a community in Anambra State have allegedly destroyed property worth N45 million in a farmland at a border community in Akokwa, Imo State.
The youths numbering more than 100 who were said to have invaded the farm on Tuesday night, beat up workers in the farm, looting their proceeds and other personal belongings.
Chief Celestine Ebubeogu, Chairman of Tiger Foods Ltd, owners of the farmland, told Christian Voice that five persons working for the company, including a one-week-old child were injured and have been hospitalized.
Narrating his ordeal, Chief Ebubeogu who hails from Owerre Akokwa said that his company acquired the more than eight acres of farmland in 2012 for the cultivation of home spices and other agricultural produce.
He said that no one raised any objection as they built a fence around the land until April 2013 when a group of boys invaded the land and destroyed the fence.
“On investigation, we discovered that the youths were from Umugama Umuchu in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State and that they were being sponsored by some elders in their community, including a soldier”, he said.
Chief Ebubeogu said that the matter was reported to the police in Urualla, Ideato North LGA, Imo State as well as to the vigilante group in Umuchu community in Anambra State. No arrests were, however, made and as no one came openly to lay claim to the land six months after, Tiger Foods decided to rebuild the fence and engaged the Umuchu vigilante to look after the property.
“Even when we were moulding blocks for the fence and another storey building we erected in the land, no one came to lay any legal claim to the property,” he said.
Three months later, the company cultivated corn, cassava, yam and other crops on the land and engaged the workers.
According to him, they had harvested part of the crops before the latest invasion last Tuesday.
Speaking on the attack, a prominent member of the Akokwa community and former governorship candidate in Imo, Dr. Ezekiel Izuogu, described the invasion as unfortunate.
He said that those involved must be made to face the full wrath of the law and called on the government of both Anambra and Imo states to intervene in the matter.
Others who spoke on the issue decried the development in the light of the ongoing campaign for a return to agriculture as the country’s economic mainstay as well as growing unemployment.