We Want our Farmlands Back, Community tells Church

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The people of Akaeze autonomous community in Ivo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State have asked Assemblies of God Church Nigeria to return donated land for varsity project over undue delay of project.

The donation which was made in 2010 has raised concern over the undue delay by the authorities of the church in developing the land donated to them by the community for the construction of the permanent site of the church’s university, Evangel University Akaeze.

The community lamented that more than a decade after relinquishing their farmlands to the Assemblies of God Church and the Evangel University, nothing had been done on the land.

Ezeogo Joseph Ubani Onu, the Ezeoke Oyiri I of Akaeze, told newsmen in his palace that families and individuals who surrendered their hectares of land that make up the entire space given to the church have been angling to take their land back for farming purposes since the school appeared not to be coming on stream.

Ezeogo Onu, who stated that the church had told them in 2010 that the Akaeze permanent site of the school would be ready in a matter of two or three years, appealed to the authorities of the Assemblies of God Church to start work at the site as a matter of urgency or relinquish the land to the community to enable their people return to the farm in preparation against the imminent post-COVID-19 hunger.

Chief Paul Agwu, a stakeholder In the Community and member of the Eze’s Council of Chiefs, alleged that there was more to the delay by the church to commence work at the permanent site in Akaeze than mere lack of money.

Agwu, who said he was a member of the Assemblies of God Church in Akaeze, stated that the church had money to start and complete any standard and quality structure it wanted at the permanent site within a year, if it was truly committed to retaining Akaeze as its permanent site.

Chief Emmanuel Ekwesi, a farmer who also donated land for the school, stated that the community never lobbied to have the school sited in their area and wondered why the church would be treating them as if they had done any wrong by providing their land for the institution.

When contacted, vice chancellor of the university, Professor Charles Umechuruba Kalu, told the reporter that the management of the institution had been at loggerheads with the original landowners from the community over compensation for donating their land.

He, however, confirmed that the misunderstanding has been resolved, adding that work would soon commence at the permanent site once the COVID-19 pandemic was over.

Kalu said: “We are working towards relocating to the permanent site. We had little issues with some families who are the original landowners there; they needed certain understanding with us and that matter is almost over. We are going to sign an MOU with the community as soon as the coronavirus is over and work will commence there immediately.”

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