June 13, 2024

Land Deals: Journalist Laments Serious Damage To Anioma Cultural Heritage

2 min read

Prolific writer and multiple award-winning journalist, Mr Anthony Awunor, has warned that the Anioma cultural heritage would be adversely affected if land speculators continue to sell land indiscriminately the way they are doing presently.

Awunor, an Anioma son, made the observation in a lecture, titled “Preservation of Anioma Ancestral Heritage: A Fresh Look at the Indiscriminate Sale of Land” he delivered at the maiden edition of the Annual Legacy Lecture organised by Anioma Watch Social Association (AWASA).

The maiden edition of the Annual Legacy lecture held at the Orchid Hotel, Asaba, Delta State, on 22 December 2023 and had “Anioma Sor Anyi” as theme.

In his presentation, Awunor said that a large part of the people’s ancestral heritage are being lost by land sellers and advised that there is an urgent need for the government to pay more attention to the land tenure system now.

According to Awunor, disruption to local land tenure and resource governance systems is associated with a range of significant social impacts which include: loss of livelihoods and employment, food insecurity, disproportionate harms to women and girls, loss of biodiversity, particularly species important for community livelihoods and/or cultures, loss of access to water or benefits from other ecosystem services.

Other social impacts listed also include: social marginalisation and disarticulation, increased morbidity and threats to the cultural survival and cultural heritage of indigenous peoples

He equally stated that, on private lands, tenure regimes have led to abuse and misuse of resources due to dominant user rights existing within individual land ownership.

Awunor therefore advised that sustainable conservation of renewable natural resources must be based on public education, mutual agreement on their utilisation and the recognition of the rights of the rural people who own, live with and earn a living on them within ecological limits.

Although, he pointed out that the traditional methods of resource conservation through common property resource utilisation have failed to meet modern requirements, he argued that efforts should be made to protect and conserve some of the salient natural resources of the people by the state.

“The pursuit to successfully preserve Anioma Ancestral Heritage is highly dependent on the land tenure system : To achieve this, a robust land administration regime should be adopted through a holistic reform of the land use laws In the same same the indigenous people of Anioma should take caution and deal with land issues transparently, reasonably and within the ambits of the law of the land.

”By so doing the government would be left with no other option than to acknowledge and recognize the rights of the indigenous people to their natural heritage and guide them through mutual understanding on how resources should be managed on sustainable basis,” Awunor said.

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