Accuses Chinese steel company of deception
* Police aborted Protest
From Paul Obiajunwo, PortHarcourt
The inhabitants of Umuorie community in Asa town, Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State have staged a protest on what they described as forceful invasion of their land by Chinese Steel company in the area, Inner Galaxy Steal company limited.
The protest which started by 9am yesterday at Umuorie community in Abia State, was aborted by police who insisted that the protest was against the recent ban of protest in Nigeria which extended to the area.
When The post got to the scene of protest, a boundary community with Rivers State, the protesters was carrying placards with different descriptions to match to the company’s gate when the news got to the police and the protest was aborted.
Reacting on the situation yesterday, the paramount ruler of Umuorie Autonomous community, His Royal Highness, Eze Innocent Umunnakwe Nkwoch, accused the company of deception and unfair to the communities.
The Monarch said since the company entered the community they have not visited his palace, adding that they deceived his subjects by using the name of the Federal government to acquire the land which was paid with peanut.
He also accused the company of defying labour law and forcefully taking more lands to build network mask and power generation without consulting the community.
Eze Nkwocha said: “I am not aware of the company operation in my community, they have not visited my palace, and if they are here I don’t know. Because I cannot associate myself with something I know nothing about. But what I cannot condole is to allow a stranger to humiliate by people by disobeying the laws of the land.
“They brought a document in the night and forced many people to sign. Since the document was signed I have never set my eyes on the document. They prevented the community from knowing what was inside the document. Some of the youths working with them are being paid only N500 per day, after working from morning till evening, this is bad.“
The community youth leader, Comrade Nnamdi Ogbonna alleged that the company has insulted the youths of the area by neglecting the Memoranda of Understanding signed between the community and the company.
Ogbonna expressed worries that environmental Impact assessment report was not out before the commencement of the company operation which he said was against the law following the economic trees and other natural resources damaged in the land.
The youth leader who called on the company not to take their peaceful deposition for granted also alleged that the company trespassed into land that were not given to them which he said have rendered some inhabitants homeless.
A Human Right Lawyer, Mr. Higher King who was hired by the community to take over the matter described the activities of the Chinese steal Company against his client as injustice and threatened to employ all legal means to ensure that justice is done.
He said he is going to exhaust all dialogue means before taking the matter to court, adding that it is a serious crime in China to invade into community land without proper negotiation.
He said: “There should be an impact assessment report on the land before the company will start operation but up till now we are yet to receive that report. What they did is to force elderly people in the community to sign a document which they took away without the people seeing what they signed.
“This is a serious matter; we are going to give the company a little chance to revise from their mistakes and misconduct. But if they cannot realize their mistakes, then, we are going to address the issue in court. You cannot take peoples land with force; it cannot happen not even in China.
Effort to reach the Company proves abortive as no staff of the company was there when The postvisited the place.
The Divisional Police Officer who led his men to the palace of the Monarch who pleaded anonymity said he visited the Monarch to advice the youths of the community not to take law into their land.
He noted that he was directed from the higher authority of his command to stop the youths from carrying the protest.