Apprehension In Delta As Okowa Issues Quit Notice To Arewa Community

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Apprehension has gripped the oil rich state of Delta following governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s issuance of a quit notice to the Arewa community living at the Cable Point Area of the state capital Asaba.

The quit notice which followed the marking of houses belonging to the Arewa indigenes for demolition, it was reliably gathered its an arrangement between Okowa and a company, “Rexwood Nigeria Limited” owned by one of his cronies in Lagos to use the area for a tourism business.

The development which has attracted series of condemnations and resistance by the Arewa community, if carried out will affect over 2,000 houses including shops, schools and worship centres.

A building belonging to an Arewa community marked for demolition

The Arewa indigenes it was gathered have lived in Cable Point in Asaba for over 200 years and was gathered that apprehension climaxed in the area when officials of the ministry of Land and Survey came to the community and started X-marking houses in the area for demolition but were chasep out.

The quit notice which was issued through the Director General of the Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency (DSCTDA), Clement Ofuani, it was gathered, once the ultimatum given to the Arewa community elapsed, they will be forcefully evicted and the already marked houses, shops, schools and mosques will be demolished.

Lamenting the situation, the Sarki of Arewa Community in Asaba, Alhaji Ibrahim Baba Gero III disclosed that the development followed plans “by the Delta State Government with Rexwood Nigeria Limited company to convert the area into a tourism business city they called “New Dubai” which will include hotels, shopping malls, office complexes, and luxury apartments.”

A building in Arewa community marked for demolition

Narrating their ordeal in the hands of governor Okowa to our correspondent, the Sarki who doubled as chairman Arewa traditional council, Asaba, Delta state, said “We were approached recently by one Ubaka J. Ubaka, suspected to be the owner of Rexwood Nigeria Limited company with a quit notice from the state government and build a New Dubai in the area. We resisted the move because there was no provision for our future.

“We have been living here for over 200 years. I was born here. My father was born here and my grandfather was born here. They came to trade and settled here and this is home for us. We contribute to the economy of the state; we have big markets here and we are all engaged in legitimate businesses. The graves of our ancestors are here and now they are asking us to leave our houses. The Okowa led administration has been hostile and inhuman to us.

Building owned by an indigene of Arewa community marked for demolition

“Governor Okowa has concluded plan to sack the Arewa community in Asaba using the the Director General of the Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency (DSCTDA), Clement Ofuani, to force us out of Asaba and destroy our houses including over 20 mosques, shops and cemetery. We have been living in this area for over 200 years, we see this as a deliberate hatred for the Arewa community by governor Ifeanyi Okowa.

“In a compound alone, I have over 100 occupants. My father was Sarki and he was buried here in the compound housing the palace, same as his father. In most houses, you would find graves. Our cemetery is also located within Cable Point and we have over 10,000 grave sites there. We have reached out to our leaders in the North to intervene and stop Okowa from this eviction. We have nowhere to go, all our lives we have lived here in Cable Point.

Building owned by indigene of Arewa community marked for demolition

“You won’t believe that most of our children have never been to the North. This is not the only Hausa community in Delta State; we have settlements in Warri, Utomi Road, Agbor, Sapele and other major towns in the state but Cable Point is the chief. Few weeks ago I met the Director General of the Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency (DSCTDA), Clement Ofuani over the issue.

“Ofuani said the governor has given his orders and we must obey the quit notice, that refusal will attract forceful eviction because nothing will stop the proposed project. Just few weeks ago after marking our houses for demolition, power of attorney documents were given to some of our illiterate people to sign ignorant. Okowa is too heartless, since he became governor he has never visited us but during Uduaghan time, we go for mecca, we get rice and rams from him for our Sallah celebrations. We felt government then not now.” the Sarki said.

Arewa community building marked for demolition

In a petition titled “The Neferious Activities of Ubaka Johnson Ubaka.”, addressed to the Sultan of Sokoto, Inspector General of Police, the Northern Governors’ Forum, the DG, DSS, Arewa Consultative Forum, the Emirs of Kano and Zazzau and others, signed by the Sarki of Arewa Community Asaba, made available to our correspondent, called for immediate intervention but vowed to resist any attempt to force them out of their ancestral homes.

All efforts to speak to the Director General of the Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency (DSCTDA), Clement Ofuani were not successful but a source in his office confirmed the quit notice issued the Arewa Community by Okowa through the agency.

Arewa community building marked for demolition

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