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Delta Assembly Speaker, Rt. Hon. Emomotimi Guwor hits the gavel on a resolution.
Delta Assembly Speaker, Rt. Hon. Emomotimi Guwor hits the gavel on a resolution.

Crime Watch

Properties Protection: Delta Assembly Directs Prosecution of Okpanam Land Grabbers


Delta State House of Assembly has asked the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the state to commence prosecution of an alleged notorious land grabber, Mr Friday Okonkwor and his cohorts in Okpanam Community, Oshimili North local government area of the state.

The call was part of a four point resolution of the House following adoption of recommendations of its Public Petition Committee that investigated an alleged forceful takeover of landed properties belonging to Civil Service Commission Staff Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society situated at Amachai community, Okpanam.

The Lawmakers at Wednesday’s session presided over by the Speaker, Rt Hon Emomotimi Dennis Guwor, received a 15 paged detailed and well researched report on the matter from the Chairman of the Public Petition Committee, Hon Mathew Omanade, who represents Ughelli North Constituency in the House.

The House in a unanimous voice vote called “on the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Delta State to ensure Mr Friday Okonkwor, Mr Felix Okeleke, Mr Austin Okolie and other youths operating under the Okpanam Land Recovery Committee involved in the use of force and threat of violence in taking over 38 plots of land belonging to the petitioner and its members, are prosecuted in accordance with the Delta State Public and Private Properties Protection Law, 2018 to serve as a deterrent to other members of the public to desist from such obnoxious acts and actions”.

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The Lawmakers condemned in a very strong term the unjust use of force and threat of violence by Mr Friday Okonkwor, Felix Okeleke, Austin Okolie and other youths operating under the Okpanam Land Recovery Committee in taking over the 38 plots of 50 feet by 100 feet out of the 80 plots belonging to the petitioner and it members.

Matthew Omonade

Hon. Matthew Omonade, Chairman, Delta State House of Assembly Committee on Public Petition

The Assembly also directed that Mr Friday Okonkwor, Felix Okeleke, Austin Okolie and other youths operating under the Okpanam Land Recovery Committee, their agents, servants or privies, should desist from entering or further interfering with the peaceful possession and enjoyment of the petitioner and its members on any part of the 38 plots of 50 by 100 feet, belonging to the petitioner and it members.

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The Legislators directed the Committee on Information and Legislative Compliance to liaise with the relevant government agencies for the sensitization of Deltans and persons residing in Delta State on the existence of the Delta State Public and Private properties Protection Law, 2018 and its content.

The Chairman, Public Petitions Committee, Hon Mathew Omonade, had disclosed that during investigative hearing, the Petitioner provided all available evidences to prove the legality of the acquisition of the said property but the respondents failed to appear before the committee after several notices were made to them.

Hon Omonade further asserted that after thorough investigation of the petition, the committee came up with several findings, one of which is the fact that the Civil Service Commission Staff Multi-purpose Co-operative Society having allotted the property to members in 2012 without any harassment from anyone, became threatened by Mr Friday Okonkwor who was part of the transaction as then Youth Leader of the Community and now leads the supposed Land Recovery Committee.

Matthew Omonade

Hon. Matthew Omonade, Chairman, Delta State House of Assembly Committee on Public Petition

During debates on the recommendations of the Committee, Lawmakers who spoke, decried the activities of land grabbers in the state, particularly in Okpanam and called for full implementation of the Delta State Public and Private Properties Protection Law.

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They condemned the actions of the the respondents to the alleged forceful takeover of landed properties belonging to Civil Service Commission Staff Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society situated at Amachai community, Okpanam and stressed the need for their prosecution to serve as strong warning to others in the business of land grabbing.

Sequel to the adoption of the recommendations, Speaker, Emomotimi Guwor, directed the Acting Clerk of the house, Mr Otto Aghoghophia to communicate the resolution to the relevant authorities.

He also urged the house committee on Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance to the resolution.


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