Pius Anyim Accused Of Land Grabbing, Destruction of Farmland Of 75y.o
The former Secretary to the Government of the Federation [SGF[, Mr. Anyim Pius Anyim, is in the news for the negative reason again, this time fingered in land grabbing in his community, Ovumte Amagu Ishiagu in Ivo local government of Ebonyi state.
The former Senator is also alleged to be involved in the destruction of the farmlands of over 20 families in the area for what some of the land owners described as “forceful takeover of our inheritance.”
One of the farm owners, Sir Moses O. Orji alleged that his farmland sitting on over 4.5 acres of land has been greatly damaged.
When our correspondent visited the area, it was discovered that the entire yam planted in the farm were completely destroyed by the tractors the wife of Sir Orji said was working on the orders of the former SGF.
Our investigation revealed that the occupants of the land weren’t given any reason the farmlands their forefathers had occupied for more than 70 years were been destroyed and the farmland parceled based on what we saw happening in the farmland.
However, on the 26th of October, 2019, the affected land owners wrote a protest letter titled “A PROTEST LETTER REGARDING THE ATTEMPT TO EVICT THE OCCUPANTS OF OVUMTE AMAGU ISHIAGU AND PARCEL OUT THE PLOTS THEREIN and the former Senate President was also copied when they learnt about what was coming.
In their letter, they maintained that they weren’t the development of their community but opposed vehemently attempt to percolate their lands which most of them have occupied for seventy years and above and sale same to other people.
In the copy of the later made available to us, the land owners stressed that “if the decision to percolate Ovumte land is mandatory, it is necessary to consider the occupants and priority given to them.”
How’s Anyim Pius Anyim linked to the destruction?
When asked who could have ordered the destruction, some of the farm owners in the area said the former Senator that represented them is the one engineering the entire process. One of the farmers narrated how during the past yuletide, Sen Anyim hinted them on his plan to ensure a modern city is built in the area as a way of bringing development in the area.
“He told us he wants to bring development to our land but this kind of development is not only painful, it will lead to our untimely death as our only source of livelihood is being destroyed. Even if our community will be developed, do we have to pay for it alone?” the man who could be in his 50s asked.
Another aged man that simply gave his name as Onu said they are simply being intimidated by their powerful politician. He dismissed the narrative that they want to bring development in their community insisting that Sen Anyim wants to take over their farmlands so his personal house which is close to our farms won’t be defaced by the farms that exist near it.
He maintained that “the demolition doesn’t have anything to do with development because he (Anyim) has a vast portion of land that’s bigger than all our farmlands here put together, is that not in Amagu land? Why won’t the development start from there?” he asked.
The lawyer to Mr. Orji, Barr. Ogbonna Arochukwu had also in a press statement described Mr. Chinedu Makwe (Amagu land committee chairman) and Mr. Livinus Uka (Amagu Town Union President) as representatives of Chief Anyim Pius Anyim and the Amagu Development Union in Ishiagu, Ivo Local government area, Ebonyi State
Attempt to get the various leaders in the community to explain what was going on exposed the high level conspiracy and a deliberate attempt as alleged by the land owners to destroy their cash crops worth millions of Naira.
When Mr. Livinus Uka, the President of the town union was contacted to enquire why the farmlands of some members of their community were being destroyed, he sounded evasive insisting that he’s not involved in land matter and when we pushed further, he said sluggishly; “the matter is in court and I wouldn’t comment on a matter in court.” When he was asked why the farmlands are still being destroyed when the matter is in court? He said; “I think I have tried, I won’t dive into a matter that’s already in court.” When he was asked if the land owners were told about the demolition before it commenced, he dropped the line.
Similarly, like a well-choreographed response, the Chairman of land committee, Mr. Chinedu Makwe in his response said; “the matter is in court and I wouldn’t like to comment on a matter in court.” When asked why the farmlands are still being destroyed, he said he’s not aware of that and the only thing he knows is that the matter is in court and went ahead to drop the line.
What did the police do when the farmland was being destroyed?
Our reported tried to find out if the matter was reported to the police for a possible action and avoiding a breakdown of law. Mr Orji who spoke to us explained his efforts in trying to get to the police to stop the demolition of his farmland. In his own words, “the police in the area seems compromised.” He went on to explain all his attempt to get the police to act.
“Around 6 am I submitted a handwritten letter addressed to the DPO to a Police Officer at the Police Station. In my letter, I stated that there was a possible invasion of my farm by thugs led by the Amagu Development Union.
“The Police Officer who received my letter signed a duplicate copy for me. However, when I asked him to stamp it he said that the stamp was in the DPO’s office and that the DPO was not around.
“Around 6.30 am when I got to my farm and saw a bulldozer destroying my yam farm, I called the DCO. The DCO picked my call and did not say anything. However, I heard him discussing with somebody in the background. I called him about three times and he picked and any did not say anything, while I heard people talking in the background.
“At my farm, I saw individuals including: Mr. Uka Livinus, (the Preseident of Amagu Development Union), Mr. Benjamin Ossi, Mr. Emmanueal Ajah, Mr. Chukwu Fabian and individuals, I do not recognize directing the bulldozer to destroy my farm. Some of them held guns and machetes.
“While the destruction of my farm was going on, a Police Officer from the station called me around 1.pm and said that the DPO wanted to see me. When I came to the Police Station, the DPO told me that I should know that he is Master’s degree holder and does not take nonsense, that I shouldn’t have submitted a handwritten letter to him.
“I told the DPO that it was very urgent and early in the morning when I made the report, so there was no way I could type it at that time. He said that I should go and type the letter and return it to him and wait for him to minute on it.
“I then went to type the letter and when I returned to submit the typed letter around 6pm, a Police Officer at the Police Station told me that he could not receive the letter because it was late and the DPO was not around. The Police Officer told me to come back on the next day.
“I went to my farm. Around 11 am, a Police Officer called me to come to the Police Station. At the Station, a Police Officer took my statement of events as they occurred on each day. The Officer said they would open a case file and visit the farm. The Officer also asked me what I wanted and I replied that I at least wanted them to come and see those destroying my farm.
“My wife then informed me that some persons were placing pegs at my palm plantation. Some Police Officers later came to my farm around 12 pm. I told the Police to come and see the persons that were destroying my farm as they were still placing pegs on the land.
“The Police Officers said it was not necessary to see them and that we should call whenever they start destroying the farm again. After spending some minutes, the Police hurriedly left on the excuse that the DPO was calling them.
“Immediately the Police left my farm (less than two minutes), the bulldozer entered and began to destroy my palm plantation. My wife called the Police to inform them and pleaded with them to return to the farm to prevent the destruction.
“My wife said that she could hear a Police Officer in background telling the DCO that “the call is from the Madam of the Man that reported”. A Police Officer took the call and my wife told him that the bulldozer was destroying my palm planation; the Police Officer however said that the DPO was calling them for an assignment.
“My son then called the Police Complaint Control Room and informed them of the state of affairs around 2.pm. I left the scene. My wife narrated that the DPO then came to the farm within a short time.” [End]
All efforts to contact the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, of the area to comment on the issue failed and the Ebonyi state police commissioner never responded to text message sent to his mobile phone.
Pius Anyim, it could be recalled, was involved in the $18.3 billion Abuja Centenary City scam for which he was earlier arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC].