By Patrick Obia
Youths of Obudu Local Government Area in Cross River State, have staged a peaceful protest rejecting the ongoing Obudu International Passenger and Cargo Airport project.
According to Mr. Kajetan Ifeayi, who took to social media disclosed that, “Youths of the four affected villages – Igwo, Okambi, Atiekpe and Ikwomikwu have pledged not to leave their ancestral home.”
The protesters displaying placards with different inscriptions such as “We don’t have land for airport”, “Ayade leave Okambi alone”, ” We can’t lose our heritage”, “No to demolition of our land and houses” amongst others.
Protesting peacefully at the site of the airport were work is ongoing, the youths lamented that, their only source of survival which is farming has been forcefully taken away from them by the Ayade led administration, and now their ancestral heritage.
The protest was occasioned by a public notice from the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Major Projects, Mr. Paul Obi, dated 24/12/2020, titled “Clearing and Earthwork on the Terminal Building Area” requesting the immediate relocation of those affected.
The eviction order which sparked waves of belligerency in many quarters saw the youths on the streets expressing their tantrum, refusing that they cannot leave their ancestral home.
Mr. Kajetan said, “We say no to International Passenger and Cargo Airport in our land, Okambi youths goes ballistic. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going, this is a perfect illustration of the drama presently unfolding in Cross River State.
“The Executive Governor of Cross River State, Sen. Ben Ayade has since commenced an elephant project of erecting International Passenger and Cargo Airport in Obudu, the project which cut across four villages – Igwo, Okambi, Atiekpe and Ikwomikwu.
“The protest which started in the early hours of Wednesday 30 of December 2020 saw a massive turnout of youths demanding for an end to the project and declaring a vote of no confidence on Governor Ayade’s aid, thereby demanding to see the Governor in person.”
Similarly, Okambi Development Association, a Community Development Organization had vehemently refused the project and is currently in Court with the State Government and others over their role in what it termed land grabbing without due compensation and other entitlements.
Meanwhile, the State Government in one of the National dailies said, they paid almost N900 million in compensation to the communities to acquire about 1,500 hectares with 9 kilometer square land for the Obudu International Passenger and Cargo Airport.
See pictures below.