By Ikenna Uwadileke
The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions has asked the Nigerian Army and other parties to stay away from the disputed land the natives of Effurun in Uvwie Kingdom in Delta State lay claim to.
The Committee also summoned the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai to appear before its members on Jan. 30 to explain how the Army acquired and resold some plots from the land in dispute.
The Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Uzoma Nkem-Aboonta, (Abia-PDP), gave the ruling at the third sitting of the committee on the matter.
The resolution also summoned the head of the Army Estates to throw more light on the issue.
Abonta explained that “the essence of placing a blanket order on the disputed land is due to the lack of willingness by the Army to provide details on the matter.
He said that the natives who petitioned the House had supplied all necessary documents to substantiate their claims while the Army had not shown course to do same.
However, the representative of the Army, Major Ehicheoya told the panel that the matter was subjudice as the Army had filed a counter claim against the Effurun people in court which had yet to be determined.
Concerning allegation that the land is not being used for any military related enterprise but sold to individuals for commercial and residential purposes, Major Ehicheoya, declined to release the name of the Head of Army Estate, maintaining that the matter is before a court.
Pressed further for counter submissions against assertions by counsel to the petitioners, Barrister V.O Otomewio, Ehicheoya said the Army had made its written submission on the matter and had nothing more to add.
The committee, however, adjourned the matter till January 30 to enable the Nigerian Army to provide explanations on how it acquired the 1,877 hectres of land in Effurun, Uvwie kindom of Delta State.