Fraudsters invade Church land … Claim to be govt agents

By Chukwudi Ikpe

The authorities of St. Cyprian’s Anglican Church, Federal Housing Estate Trans-Egbu, Owerri Imo State, have raised alarm over attempt by suspected fraudsters to take over its land.
The Vicar of the church, Rev. Canon Chinemerem Uche, who spoke to Christian Voice on the issue, said that the land, which is located at Lemchi Ezurike Lane, Federal Housing Estate, Trans Egbu was duly allocated to the Anglican Diocese of Owerri for St. Cyprian’                                                        s (Ang.) Church by the Ministry of Lands, Imo State, with all relevant documents including the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O).
He explained that when the church discovered that the site was prone to flooding, they acquired another land nearby where they are currently occupying and building their church structure.
Canon Uche further explained that the church, however, fenced the site, waiting for the intervention of government in finding remedy to the menace of flooding which was hampering immediate development of the site.
The Vicar told Christian Voice that the intruders, who claim to be agents of the Ministry of Lands, invaded the site last weekend and tried to take possession of the land.
He pointed out that the church, on noticing the action of the supposed Ministry of Lands staff, quickly moved to stop them by showing them all the necessary documents.
Canon Uche also explained that after the church had cleared the land to indicate ownership, the intruders came again and bulldozed the whole land together with other adjoining lands.
According to him, they went as far as pulling down the dwarf fence erected by the church and demolishing the foundation of the gatehouse dug by the church.
The priest said that the Team led by one Callistus Chinedu, (aka) CJK claimed to be working with indigenes of Umuodu Owere, who they said, were the original owners of the land.
Canon Uche, who conducted Christian Voice round the site, insisted that the land belongs to the Anglican Diocese of Owerri and St. Cyprian’s Anglican Church and is not in dispute.
He, therefore, warned anyone or any group trying to invade the land to steer clear.
The man of God also raised alarm over the impending disaster the action of the intruders now pose to the neigbourhood of Federal Housing Estate.
He explained that they have destroyed the water channel that takes all the water from the Estate and other places to an artificial lake in the area called Nwaebere.
Canon Uche said that the Estate now stands the risk of heavy flooding unless something is done.
Also speaking on the matter, a member of the church Committee, Mr. Kelechi Nkwoada, confirmed the incident and recalled that similar attempt has been made in the past to invade the land which the church stopped.