The people of Okambi community in Obudu, Cross River State, whose land was obtained for the Obudu International Cargo and Passenger Airport in 2019, have revealed that their demands had not been met by the state government which acquired their land.
They made this known through the Okambi Community Council Chairman, Ignatius Atsua, in an interview with a PUNCH correspondent.
Although members of the community said they were not opposed to the land acquisition for the airport project, they wanted to be properly compensated and resettled.
Atsua stated, “Our demands have not been met. The matter is in court and we are waiting for the court to take a final position on it. Work in the jungle is currently going on while outstanding bills have yet to be settled. Some property owners got paltry sums unlike what is done in other communities.
“What is given to some people as compensation is nothing to write home about. That is why the agitation is high. Right now, the majority of the people have not been paid their compensation, yet they (the government) keep demolishing.”
The community which is made up seven villages demanded to be resettled in an alternative place conducive for living and farming and be given financial means to develop the new settlement.
On the recent alleged death of some youths during a protest in the community, Atsua said, “Nobody died but many were injured.”
Atsua had earlier claimed in an address to Governor Ben Ayade that the community was arm-twisted to part with their land.
He described the compensation as a charade, adding that the project has led to the destruction of their farms, plantations, economic trees and only source of water supply.
The other two communities whose land has been acquired for the airport project are Atiekpe and Ikwomikwu.
But the project site manager and Special Adviser to the Governor on Major Projects, Paul Obi, said compensation was paid accordingly.
He said, “It is only the people whose farms were affected that were paid. Every house that has been demolished has been paid for. For now, our design has been adjusted not to include any demolition of houses any longer.
“Regarding Okambi’s compensation, it is in excess of N160m and they have collected the money.”