There was pandemonium at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu on Thursday as an alleged land grabber accompanied by policemen from the Inspector General of Police Monitoring Unit and some hoodlums threatened to demolish airport buildings and took away some airport staff and two mobile policemen guarding the airport.
Mr. JJ Emejulu from Anambra State told reporters that he bought an expansive area of land from Umujenwe Nike community in Enugu State but was dispossessed of the land by the state government for purpose of expansion of the airport runway and building a free trade zone.
Emejulu also insisted that Oriental Estate lying adjacent to the airport and stretching all the way to ANNAMCO equally belongs to him even though other people have since forcefully occupied land. He promised to demolish buildings belonging to the Federal Airports Authority and free trade zone in the airport by Monday 11th November 2019 if his demands were not met.
Subsequently, some offices and residential quarters of the N-POWER free trade zone were vandalized and property seized by fierce-looking thugs. Mr. Uche, the general manager of N-POWER was seen handcuffed and two mobile policemen who were guarding the airport were also disarmed and arrested. A reported fourth person who works for FAAN was also arrested. All four were subsequently taken away to the Enugu State Criminal Investigative Department.
However, contrary to Emejulu’s claims, Enugu State Ministry of Lands documents sighted by our reporter showed that the said lands were acquired, registered and dezoned by the Late Igwe G.O.D Eneh from Umuchigbo Nike Community in 1959.
One of Eneh’s layouts, Oriental Estate, located after the Airforce barracks and before Victory Estate is inhabited by residential houses, shops, industries and some churches including Living Faith (Winners Chapel) and Omnipotent Assembly while on the other end, the unoccupied Airport Road Layout Phase IV was given to the Enugu State Government for expansion of the airport runway and building of a free trade zone by the Eneh family in 2010.
Speaking on the incident, residents of Oriental Estate lamented that Mr. Emejulu is a political tool to halt the progress of the airport. An aged resident who simply gave his name as Sylvannus warned the IG of police and Enugu commissioner of Police to be wary of Mr. Emejulu whom he described as a troublesome, cunning land grabber who is seeking money for compensation for a land he does not own.
“Because his wife is a magistrate, he [Emejulu] parades a 2017 court judgement and claims he owns the airport and estates near the Air Force barracks,” Sylvannus stated.
“He brought caterpillar and demolished our fences and told us to bring 15 million naira each otherwise he will demolish our houses completely,”
“When the matter was reported to former IG of Police Idris Ibrahim, Emejulu fled the country as soon as policemen from Abuja came to arrest him. He is now deceiving this new IG who is not aware of the case. He gave IG Monitoring Team 3 million naira, gave Enugu Police Commissioner 2 million naira and OC Legal and DC OPs 1 million to release policemen to him. Everyday he keeps harassing us with SARS, Police and thugs to give him money.”
“We have since overturned the fake judgement at the Enugu State High Court and obtained several injunctions against him and his thugs. We will be suing him for malicious damages soon.”
“He did the same thing in Lagos State and they jailed him and he ran to Enugu when he was released from prison.”
On his part, the Surveyor-general of Enugu State Ishiwu G. C who spoke on behalf of the Honorable commissioner of Lands denied knowledge of the incident. He however admitted that Mr. Emejulu does not own the disputed land.
“Available information from the Director Town Planning, Ministry of Lands Enugu confirmed that Oriental Estate Layout is registered in his office, Ishiwu wrote in a text.
He also confirmed the registration of Airport Road Layout Phase IV while he declared that (Emejulu’s) Airport Road Layout Phase V is not his records as a registered layout.
Another resident of Oriental Estate Mr Amarachi Idam disclosed that when the pressure was piled, he complied with Mr. Emejulu’s monetary demands.
“J.J. [Emejulu] arrested us when when we were still building our house but after we paid N5million we were released,” Idam said.
When contacted, the Enugu State commissioner for Youths and Sports, Vitus Okechi, who owns a property in Oriental Estate told our reporter to “go to sleep”, citing that Mr. Emejulu will soon answer for his crimes.
“The man has mental issues and knows how to lie,” Vitus commented. “I can show you the psychiatric hospital where he was admitted. I’m sure he’s still an outpatient there.”
“How can he say he bought a land in 2009 whereas he hasn’t even been born in 1959 when the land was bought and registered with certificate of occupancy by [Late] Igwe G.O.D Eneh?”