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Enugu: Scores of soldiers of the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army sorrounded and forcefully took over the permanent Secretariat of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Enugu Branch, before midnight yesterday, 31st December, 2021.

The security personnel on ground during the nocturnal invasion were lucky to escape in one piece and are still traumatized over the harrowing experience reminiscent of Nigeria’s dark days of military dictatorship.

The iinvasion appears to be linked to the ongoing attempt by one Okechukwu Ayogu to acquire the property and other adjoining properties for the development of an estate.

Ayogu of Hybrid Limited, who apparently is one of the associates of Chief Nnam, the immediate past Enugu State Commissioner for Lands, who resigned, months ago, under very controversial circumstances,had around July, 2021, led truck loads of combat ready soldiers to forcefully take over a vast expanse of land stretching from the back of NTA, Enugu to IMT, Enugu.

Those whose lands were so affected, including the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Enugu State Secretariat and the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Enugu, rose in unison against what they described as “desperate land grabbing”.

While talking to hoo!haa!! Newspapers over the telephone, Engr Dr Uchenwam Nebiem Ujam, FNSE, FNIEEE, the Chairman, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Enugu Branch raised alarm on the use of soldiers to forcefully take over the NSE Enugu Secretariat while the matter was already in court.

“Whoever sent the soldiers is just showing that he has access to the Nigerian Army. I wonder why soldiers should get involved in a civil matter, especially one that is pending in court”

She expressed fears over the safety of building materials worth millions of Naira including rods, trips of sand and chippings, planks, etc, that were stored in the premises of the building which had been decked, at the time of the invasion.

“The NSE Enugu Branch acquired and paid all necessary fees for acquisition of the said land in 2014 and development of the land had progressed since then unhindered.

“It was therefore a surprise when Mr Ayogu now presented papers, allegedly obtained from the Commissioner of Lands, applying for the same land, getting approval for same and as well a Certificate of Occupancy, all within a space of some months. All his tendered documents bore the year 2021.

Engr Ujam also stated that there was never any revocation notice from the Ministry of Lands before the alleged re-allocation.

“We have approached His Excellency the Enugu State Governor who asked the present Commissioner for Lands to address the issue”

Finally, she called on the State Government to come to the aid of the NSE.

Few months ago, the State Government returned the land allotted to NULGE, the rightful owners. It is expected that the same measure is extended to the NSE since it is trite law that NSE title to the land (2014) predates and therefore supercedes that of the other party (2021)

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