By Peter Okutu – Abakaliki
The former Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Chief Abia Onyike, Thursday raised alarm over what he described as the ongoing act of selling off or taking over of Ebonyi’s landed properties and buildings, located in Lagos, Abuja, Enugu, Abia and other places by Agents of Government without due process.
But in a quick reaction, the Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Barr. Orji Uchenna Orji described the allegation as baseless, unfounded and misleading.
“We are not really surprised. We know the source it is coming from. By all intent and purposes, there is no truth in that information. There is no truth at all. We are not going to join issues with them.
“We are focused. The properties of the Ebonyi State Government is intact. If we have any need to do anything with it, we don’t owe any of them any explanation at all. We owe our people an explanation of what we do and we have been doing that.”
Continuing, Onyike called on Governor David Umahi not to sweep the matter under the carpet as Ebonyians at home and in the Diaspora would like to know what is happening or has happened to Ebonyi State Government properties in Lagos, Abuja, Enugu, Aba and other places.”
According to the statement by the former Commissioner for Information, Onyike stressed that “Ebonyians will not forgive any group of pretentious leaders who want to use false pretence to appropriate Ebonyi government properties to themselves as such an act would be the height of betrayal of public trust.”
“Following the recent outcry and disclosures made some Concerned Citizens of Ebonyi State, alleging that Ebonyi State Government Buildings and Landed properties located in Lagos have been surreptitiously sold off to or taken over by unknown persons, with the active connivance or conspiracy of top government officials of Ebonyi state, and having confirmed the authenticity of the allegations from some Ebonyi indigenes resident in Lagos, I wish to react and state as follows.
“That as a concerned citizen of Ebonyi state and as one of those who fought for the creation of the state, it is incumbent on me and other agitated Patriots, to always rise to the occasion as circumstances may demand, to defend the collective/common interests of all Ebonyians, especially on issues and matters relating to our common patrimony.
“That I commend the alertness of the Association of Ebonyi Indigenes in Diaspora and their sincere/patriotic alarm raised over the dubious attempt or act of selling off or taking over of the said landed properties and buildings, located in Lagos and belonging to the people and government of Ebonyi, without due process.
“I personally condemn any effort by any person or group of persons, acting individually or collectively or in conjunction with Ebonyi State Government to sell off or buy off the said properties which belong to Ebonyi State Government, with the use of proxies or agents.
“Such acts are criminal and unacceptable to the citizens of Ebonyi state who are the real owners of the properties in question.
“I hereby call on the Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi to respond to these serious allegations about the possible involvement of officials of Ebonyi State government in the sale of the landed properties and houses or any other properties belonging to Ebonyi state government in any other part of Nigeria.
“Governor Umahi should not sweep this matter under the carpet. He must address the issue squarely.
“Ebonyians at home and in the Diaspora would like to know what is happening or has happened to Ebonyi State Government properties in Lagos, Abuja, Enugu, Aba and other places.
“Ebonyians would not tolerate any underhand manoeuvres by selfish leaders and covetous government officials who may have the urge to convert the properties of the state government to their personal ownership and usage.
“In fact, the State government should set up a panel of inquiry to probe into the status of Ebonyi state properties scattered all over Nigeria, with a view to carrying out an inventory of such properties for proper documentation and accountability.
“Ebonyians will not forgive any group of pretentious leaders who want to use false pretence to appropriate Ebonyi government properties to themselves as such an act would be the height of betrayal of public trust.
“It would amount to a great measure of treachery against Ebonyi people, who have been subjected to unbearable levels of deprivation and denials, in the name of developing the state, under the incumbent administration of Governor David Umahi.”