From EZE NWABUEZE, Onitsha
Chief Ikenna Offor, a United Kingdom (UK)-based agro giant and Managing Director of FS Initiative, an International Development Organization that promotes farming in Africa and Asia has raised the alarm over an alleged plot to demolish his farm at Umueri, Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Speaking at a press briefing, Offor alleged that government agency moved in with bulldozer to commence the demolition of the farm located along the new airport road for no just cause, adding that but for the youths of the community who protested against it, the farm would have been destroyed.
Insisting that the land where the farm is located was not included in the new airport plan but an individual land at Ogene Igbokwe stream, Offor said the community land, which was given to the State government did not cross the stream which is the boundary and wondered why they invaded his farm for demolition.
Offor appealed to Governor Willie Obiano to intervene and investigate the action of the agency and restrain them from further action in his farm, which he said has provided jobs to youths and continues to create job opportunities in the area due to its expansion.
“As am talking to you, nobody has written and approached me, we are still in dark.
So I don’t know the motive behind moving earth machine to demolish our farm.
There should be process and even if the airport road will affect our farm, they should have informed us before now despite the fact that our land is not part of the airport plan,” Offor agonised.
“The farm feeds some Anambra people and others. Through the farm we have created employment opportunities based on federal government’s agricultural revolution scheme.
The land has been there since 2008 with piggery and crop farming.
I came to Nigeria to establish the farm in my effort to contribute to the development of my country and my State and in order to be doing the talk on job creation through agriculture and industrialized the state.
“I want the Governor to tell us what exactly is happening because for us, we don’t know what is happening.
This is because we have not received any letter.
If the Offor farm is going to be affected, I believe that the right thing to do is not only compensate the owners of the farms but find a place to relocate them where they will continue to be useful.
I really want the intervention of the Governor in that farm.
“It is not only my farm; there is another farm close to mine and government should redirect the road for the economic purpose of using farming to promote economic development of the state and to encourage others to invest in farming to create job opportunities but with this action; people would be discouraged.
“Let nobody touch that farm, I’m not looking for compensation, I don’t want that farm to be touched.
I am one of the teams helping Africa not only Nigeria in using farming for general good. I want to use that farm to encourage others to come into farming sector.
We have two or three farms in that axis that have been developed that should not be destroyed rather government should look at it and re-channel the road elsewhere,” Offor appealed.
But the state commissioner of Works Mr. Marcel Ifejiofor when contacted denied knowledge of the plan to demolish the farm, saying that the airport land was acquired starting from 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 earlier than that of the farm.
“We are working with a map with ministry of land and we have not gone out of the map of the airport,” he said.