Association of Ebonyi Indigenes in Diaspora (AESID) has condemned an alleged sale of a landed property belonging to the Ebonyi state government in Lagos, our correspondent gathered.
The Association consequently demanded a probe of the allegation over the said property located at No. 19A Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Maryland, Lagos state.
In a statement signed and made available to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja by AESID’s President-General, Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, the body raised the alarm that the land which is the only property owned by Ebonyi state government in Lagos state is a 2-acres of land with an erected and furnished two-storey building situated on it and strategically-located on a highbrow area, directly opposite the Ikeja Military Cantonment, Lagos.
Oluchukwu said some Ebonyi indigenes occupying the said premises and doing their businesses have made certain unofficial disclosures regarding an alleged plot by someone close to the state government to sell the property in question.
“To this end, therefore, we have been fully informed about the serving of notices to various occupants of the said property to quit same for the alleged eventual take-over of it by the said buyers of the property whose identities, terms of agreements and rate of purchase have remained a top-secret known only to the Umahis.
“We gathered therefore that some of the traders around the area have already complied with the notice by vacating the said premises which had been placed on rent to Coscharis for N50 million annually to the state which helped to shore up the State’s revenue-base.
“Firstly, is the Umahi government aware that Ebonyi indigenes living in and others doing businesses within the said premises have been served notices to quit the said apartments? If indeed, it is to their knowledge, who is behind such notices?
“Secondly, did the Umahi-led administration either through the Governor himself, his very powerful and influential brothers and or including any of his ‘less-powerful’ Exco members at any point raise the issue of selling, leasing or even quitting the tenants of the said massive land before an Exco either for deliberation or consideration as was often the case even in the government of Elechi where he served as a Deputy Governor?
“Thirdly, was the said property ever advertised either in the print, electronic, or even the social media as being on sale for interested members of the public to perhaps competitively bid and lobby for it as stipulated in our laws? Who exactly is behind this outlandish dubious plot to sell-off what belongs to the entire Ebonyians without recourse to due process of the law as though it is now a private property? These questions, now on the lips of many Ebonyians deserve very modest and urgent answers and Governor Umahi cannot continue to live in denial or pretenses regarding these.
“Whereas we condemn in its entirety the said moves to sell-off Ebonyi property in any part of the country, which our ancestors and elders fought very hard to bequeath to our generation particularly the one in question, we quickly call on the State government to come open and declare the actual status of the said property within 24 hours”.
The association, however, called on the security agencies to probe the allegation and unravel the truth.
“We, therefore, call on security and law enforcement agencies to without hesitation probe this allegation of sale of Ebonyi landed property in Lagos and or any other part of the country where such incident or interest may have occurred without due process and consequently bring those behind same to book as we believe that government is not a criminal enterprise that acts in dubious secrecy, specious hypocrisy and shamelessness”.
The group also urged the state government to remember and fully compensate those affected by the siting of the Airport project in Okarue, Umuoghara, Ezza North Local Area of the state.
“AESID also totally condemn the silence of the Ebonyi state government on the plights of those affected by the siting of the Airport project in Okarue, Umuoghara, Ezza North Local Area of the state.
“The victims, who are predominantly peasant rural farmers, are numbering thousands have lived without shelter and any form of genuine assistance after being forced out of their ancestral homes and lands by the Umahi-government which forcefully acquired the said land for the International Airport”.