Koko Ama Residents Protest Plot To Seize Their Land

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Residents of Koko Ama in the Port Harcourt City Local Government Area of Rivers State, have embarked on a peaceful protest over a purported plot by some persons to forcefully take over the community’s land.
The protesters, who blocked the road from Eastern By Pass to Marine Base accused one Mr. Bola Afolabi, and some officials of the Rivers State Ministry of Land and the Police of being behind the plot.
Chairman of Koko Ama community, Elder Ateke Obianirne, who addressed the protesters later said that the community will resist all attempts by some persons to take over their land.
Elder Obianime who said that the land was marked for school and markets, traced the crisis to 2014, when some tenants from the community were served with quit notice by Assurance Solicitor at No 4 Harley Street, Port Harcourt without disclosing the identity of their clients.
According to him, while the community was on the verge of replying the Quit Notice through its lawyers, another letter was received from the Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Rukpokwu, inviting sorne community persons to a meeting, stressing that while the community was preparing for the meeting, SARS later invaded the community with bulldozers and destroyed property worth millions of naira.
“The men of SARS on 31st December, 2014, came to the community with one Mr. Bola Afolabi with bulldozers and workers, they started to demolish properties on the community’s land earmarked for school/market”, he said.
The community chairman later told newsmen that they later got a report from the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands, Chief D.J. Amiofori that the land belonged to one Mr. Oroko Kinika.
Also speaking, the Crown Prince of Koko Ama community, Prince Frank Hezekiah Koko told The Tide reporter in an interview that the land was Koko Ama’s, allocated to the community on payment of relevant fees and showed to The Tide evidence of state government’s cash receipt No. 744300, adding that the government’s white paper dated 23rd December, 1999 also granted the community title over the piece of land.
He advised Mr Bola Afolabi and his cohorts at the Ministry to leave the community property alone to avoid a breakdown of law and order and urged the Rivers State Governor to wade into the matter with a view to investigating the activities of the Ministry of Lands.
When contacted on phone, Mr Bola Afolabi described those laying claim to the land as criminals, stressing that in this era of integrity, nobody can take what does not belong to him. The police Public Relations Officer, Mr Ahmed Mohammed told The Tide in an interview that the police is not aware of the issue.
Effort to reach the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands, Chief D.J. Amiofori for his comments proved abortive as he was said to be busy.