Police demolished my N100m property for POWA project,


From Stanley Uzoaru, OwerriA gardener, Kennedy Nwapi, has accused the Imo State Police Command of demolishing his garden at Chukwuma Nwoha, worth N100 million, just to execute a project owned by the Police Officers Wives Association (POWA).Briefing newsmen, the aggrieved gardener said he had been operating the garden, which he claimed was on a Greenbelt in the area, since 1998. He said the garden was finally demolished on October18, after several warnings by the police who claimed it was sited on their property.Nwapi said the Owerri Capital Development Agency (OCDA) had also made several attempts to demolish the garden which it claimed was obstructing the lockup shops built behind it by POWA, but a quick intervention by the Chief of Staff to the Government House, Nnamdi Anyaehie, prevented it.However, when that effort failed, Nkem said POWA informed him to vacate the premises as it wanted to build more lockup shops at the place. Subsequently, Nwapi said before he could wait for the governor’s decision as advised by the Chief of Staff, whether to quit the place or not, some heavily armed policemen invaded his garden at about 8.30pm on October 18, and levelled up the garden he had owned for 20 years in a twinkle of an eye.He said: “When I left the garden to repair my car, my wife called me and said five people were waiting to see me. When I got there, one of them identified himself as Mr IK, a personal assistant to the CP’s wife; they came with another woman who is my neighbour who they sent to ask why I refused to vacate the garden.“Despite my effort to do what the POWA team earlier asked me to do (make the place a driveway instead of walkway), later, IK came again and handed me his phone and said that the CP wanted to speak with me. The CP told me that the place was police property and he must recover it.“On Tuesday, around 8:30pm, somebody called me and said that demolition was ongoing at my garden; people who saw them said they were well over 50 policemen, but I could not come out that day,” Nwapi said.However, reacting to the claim, the police spokesperson in the state, Michael Abattam, insisted that the garden space belonged to POWA and, moreover, denied destruction of the land by the police.“The land in question belongs to POWA and they used it to build lockup shops. They never trampled or encroached on anybody’s land; they never destroyed anybody’s property,” Abattam said.

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