All is not well in Obio Offot community in Uyo Local Government Area as the leadership of the Village and youths of the Community are said to be in a competition to sell either lands belonging to government or the Village.
A recent case in point is the alleged sales of plots of land belonging to Offot Ukwa Secondary School, Obio Offot.
It has been gathered that the plots of land hitherto cultivated by teachers in the secondary school have now been sold out.
The Village Head, Chief Cyril Umanah and the Village Chairman, Ubong Usoro are allegedly the kingpins in the deal with the school principal fingered too.
A Senior Staff in the school who refused name on print for fear of victimization from the leadership of the Community disclosed that almost all the lands located on the fringes of the school have been sold out by the leadership of the Community.
The Source noted ” You know very well that teachers use to have their farmlands which they cultivate. Those farmlands are now no more except the ones right inside the school compound. The villagers have sold almost to the walls of staff quarters. We are in a terrible situation here”.
This reporter gathered that when the youths of the Community discovered what had happened on the school land, they approached the leadership of the village yet without result.
The youths who confided in this reporter mentioned that when there was no headway in their call to village leadership to look into the matter, they had to mobilize, approach and enquired from one Otobong Gerald whose family is said to have originally owned the land before government took it asking the reason he joined hands with the Village leadership to sell the land.
The Youths said Gerald denied selling the land but told them the land was sold by his Senior brother who resides in Calabar to his friend in Calabar but that they had gotten the consent of the Village Head. When called upon to present the buyer, they noted that he was unable to present the original buyer.
The youths further said that this is not the only land belonging to the village that has been sold.
They added ” In the near future, we may no longer have village lands which our forebears bequeathed to us. It is on record that our Village Head had sold the land the youths earlier planned to use for a Civic centre and skill acquisition centre. The money was used for his personal consumption.
” It is also on record that our Village Head had sold a very big portion of land belonging to the village for the sum of N12 million naira. The five unit heads in the village did not know the actual amount of money sold. He shared N600,000 to them each. And they kept quite.”
The youths noted that having realized that the village lands are sold in reckless abandoned, youths of the area have out of anger started cutting portions of the village land to sell.
The youths maintained that the youths of the community will never stop imitating the leadership of the village since the leadership of the village wants to be smarter than all the villagers.
Contacted, one of the Unit Heads in the Village, Chief Boniface Uko admitted that there is a crisis in the village over sales of land.
He said the Youths of the Village had recently consulted him to express their displeasure over the spate of land sales in the village.
Chief Uko said although he is unaware of the person who sold the land belonging to the school, he has gathered that the buyer has been warned to hold on from developing the land.
When contacted, the Youth President, Ukeme Idaha said he is unaware that anyone has ever labelled the Village Head to be involved in the land scandal.
He noted that although the issue of sales of land in the school has been there in the village for some time now, he said that the fact is that a certain family sold the land.
Idaha added “They were the only ones who involved the Village Head in the matter. When I asked the Village Head about the issue, he called on us not to cause trouble but we should seek ways to settle it and it is under process. The Village Head knows what he would do. It is his village.”
The Village President stated that he cannot speak on whether the village Head is involved in selling other lands belonging to the village or not.
On his part, the Village Chairman, Ubong Usoro when contacted noted that the claims by the youths are untrue and merely designed to tarnish the reputation of the village leadership.
Narrating the situation, he noted ” There are people who have lands near the school. They said they will sell their land. They came with the principal and few others to the palace of the Village Head.
“It was said that survey documents should be brought but the principal said that the land is owned by the Village. From our investigation, the school and those who said that they are original land owners have planted on the land for years. There have been no issue. The land is not big. His father died so he wanted to sell the land for the burial of his father”.
Ubong explained that when the village finally meet, the issue will be resolved.
The Village Chairman said he is not competent to comment on whether the Village Head has sold village lands and used the proceeds for himself since he recently emerged as Chairman of the community.
Several attempts to reach the Village Head for comments proved abortive as he neither responded to his phone calls or text message as at press time.