okenyiThe dispute between the Nigerian Navy and Oghara community in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State over the extent of land acquired for the building of a naval facility in the area has been finally resolved with leaders agreeing to give the Navy additional 243 hectares of land.

A statement issued and signed by Signed by Pius Mordi, Media Aide to the Commissioner for lands noted that this followed the intervention of the state’s Ministry of Lands, Survey and Urban Development which yesterday (Tuesday) mediated in a meeting it convened between leaders of the community and officials of the Navy with Chief Dan Okenyi, the commissioner, presiding.

Speaking on behalf of the community, Chief Steve Ediwere, its spokesman, said they decided to let go of the additional land in the overriding interest of the nation. He urged the Ministry of Lands to put machinery in motion for the determination and prompt payment of fair compensation to the people of Oghara, host of the Nigerian Navy Logistics Command.

Assuring the community of the resolve of the Delta State government to protect their interest, he urged the leaders to nominate a qualified estate surveyor to work alongside officials of the Ministry of Lands in the task of evaluating the land for the purpose of determining appropriate and just compensation. He said the community will be fully involved in the entire process of perfecting the documentation of the land and determining the compensation.

The dispute boiled over in July when leaders of the community protested what they saw as encroachment of the Navy beyond the parcel of land earlier given to the Nigerian Navy. Following the protest by the people on Tuesday, July 26 where the Sapele-Warri highway was blocked by protesting men and women from the town, the state government intervened and invited both the Navy and community to Asaba, the state capital, on Wednesday, August 3, where Okenyi asked the Navy to stop further work on the disputed land until all issues are resolved.

Speaking at the end of Tuesday’s meeting in Oghara, the third since the July protest, Okenyi thanked the leaders of the community for their maturity and cooperation with the government. He said officials of the Ministry will work expeditiously to conclude the evaluation process for compensation to be paid. The commissioner assured that the state government will also intervene to ensure that the compensation is paid promptly.

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