ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE CHAIRMAN OF OKAMBI COMMUNITY COUNCIL, OKAMBI, OBUDU DURING THE VISIT OF HIS EXCELLENCY, GOVERNOR BEN AYADE ON THE OCCASION OF THIS MEETING HELD ON THE 13TH JULY 2020 WITH THE HOST COMMUNITIES OF THE OBUDU INTERNATIONAL PASSENGER AND CARGO AIRPORT, OBUDU, CROSS RIVER STATE, NIGERIA.
Your Excellency the Executive Governor of Cross River State, Sir (Senator) Prof. Ben Ayade KSJI. Members of the Cross River State House of Assembly here present. The Executive Chairman of Obudu Local Government Council, Members of the State Executive Committee present, Their Royal Highnesses here present, All other protocols duly observed, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is my pleasure to welcome His Excellency, Governor Ben Ayade, his entourage and every person here gathered to this August occasion of meeting with our community in respect of the construction of Obudu International Passenger and Cargo Airport.
We the people of Okambi Community, Obudu one of the communities playing host to the Obudu International Passenger and Cargo Airport have in recent times come under a huge barrage of criticisms and attacks in view of our position on the proposed Airport project.
We have been misunderstood to be a people who are against the lofty developmental activities brought by His Excellency who in his wisdom has decided to situate no mean a project than the International Airport in Obudu which happily our community is co-host. Permit me Sir to state here that Okambi Community has at no time opposed the concept of the construction of the said Airport. What we have all the while insisted on as a people is that the proper thing be done prior to us ceding our ancestral lands.
Unlike other co-host communities who are contributing just a portion from the abundant lands they possess for the construction of the said airport, Okambi Community has been arm-twisted through sheer brute and grit to part with every bit of land with exception initially of their residential abodes. Sadly however, the said residential abodes which were spared are now under imminent threat of being ceded too, with no alternative settlement plan for our people who have already lost their economic standing, as a result of total destruction of every farm as well as plantations arising from the activities of a certain Mr. Paul Obi (the Airport Project Manager).
THE ACTIVITIES OF MR. PAUL OBI
Your Excellency, I do not want to bore you with every detail but permit me Sir to draw your attention to our peculiar situation caused by the said Mr. Paul Obi who’s activities and mode of working constitute an embarrassment to Your esteemed digital administration as follows:
The malicious and mindless destruction of farms, plantations, economic trees, blockage of the only source of water known as Atiankpe stream and the water sheds without clear evidence of the alignment/design of the project layout.
The recruitment, indoctrination and arming of young men to act as his security to bully and terrorize any person perceived to stand on his way. Your Excellency, this person has not only destroyed our environment, he has also destroyed the social fabrics of society by making the carrying of arms fashionable to the youths of Okambi and glorifying cultism.
And some persons in the community have been rendered homeless as their homes have been destroyed by the army of Mr. Paul Obi.
THE CHARADE CALLED COMPENSATION
Sir, it may interest you to know that there has not been any compensation paid the actual land-owners in Okambi within the area cleared for the Airport Project. The contraption which was christened ‘Enumeration for Compensation’ can best be described as a charade. I shall enumerate the issues arising therefrom as follows:
The document being paraded as compensation has its origin from a certain Mr. Celestine Atsu of Ministry of Lands and Urban Development, Mr. Paul Obi whose hand is seen everywhere, 2 Chiefs and a few recalcitrant persons who up till date have refused to display the list of beneficiaries and amounts paid for transparency purpose.
The attorney purporting to be responsible for Okambi enumeration and compensation payment was packaged and foisted on the community by Mr. Celestine Atsu, Mr. Paul Obi working hand in gloves with some fraudulent and recalcitrant persons and two (2) fraudulent Chiefs out of the five (5) village heads of Okambi as the attorney was never empowered to represent Okambi Community.
It is in view of the foregoing that we the peace-loving people of Okambi Community having not being able to get the Government’s attention, have resorted to seeking redress in the Court of law.
Okambi Community would gladly give up all their ancestral lands for the development of the Airport provided that they are relocated and resettled in an alternative place for the purpose of living and farming and the financial means to develop their alternative residences granted them by your esteemed administration.
Finally sir, Okambi Community is made up of the following villages:
Thus, the fate of Okambi Community is not determined by individual village chiefs but by the elites under the auspices of Okambi Development Association (ODA) both at home and in the diaspora working at all times, with the Okambi Community Council which is resident at home.
Your Excellency should be rest assured that the people of Okambi Community have esteemed regards for you and are ready to embrace the Airport Project but are praying that the aforementioned concerns be addressed.
Thank you sir,
Kindly accept the assurances of our highest regards.
Veteran Comrade Ignatius Atsua
Chairman, Okambi Community Council
For and on behalf of Okambi Community
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