Communities in the Oguta local government area of Imo State comprising Agwa, Ejemekwuru, Akabor, Umuofor and Izombe have cried out over a proposed RUGA settlement in their areas.
They described the project as a Trojan horse that would spell doom for their future generations if executed.
The people who spoke through their various spokespersons urged the government to take the project to other parts of the state, as according to them, it is a Greek offer to their communities.
However, the state government has allayed the fears of the indigenes of the oil-bearing and agricultural communities, describing the rumoured RUGA project as untrue.
While chanting solidarity songs and bearing fresh palm fronts and placards with inscriptions, which reads, “Our land is for crop farming and residential purposes; Agwa people say No to RUGA, livestock farming or the likes; Ohaoma people say No to this offer, we don’t want it” and “Akabor people say No to RUGA, livestock farming or cattle rearing.”
Others were “We no go gree, we no go gree” and “No vacant land for agro-allied farm projects, please leave our farmlands alone; Akabor/Ohaoma reject any agric/farm land project in their area.”
The aggrieved indigenes stormed the premises of the community primar school Ejemekwuru where the state deputy governor, Prof Placid Njoku, on behalf of Governor Hope Uzodimma disabused their minds about the projects.
Njoku, a professor of agricultural science and former vice chancellor of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, said the proposed $180 million project to be executed by the federal government in collaboration with the African Development Bank code named Special Agro Processing Zone (SAP2) had nothing to do with the controversial RUGA settlement.
“It is a Special Agro Industrial Processing Zone and the 36 states of the federation competed for it. Imo was one of the last to compete for it and is one of the selected states for the first phase of the project and we should be proud to be one of the states selected. Our state is No 2 in the series and the only one in the southeast,” he said.