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One Yr Of Shared Prosperity Govt. Onuegbu Raising The Bar As Land. Ministry

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As Imolites both at home and in the diaspora roll their drums to celebrate the awesome and breathtaking achievements of Governor Hope Uzodinma, in the last calendar year, the general consensus is that for the first time since her chequered history, Imo State has a leader who is not only focused but is determined to change the course of history.

Governor Uzodinma’s policy thrust which is anchored on the 3R mantra of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Recovery, has no doubt raised the consciousness of Imo people that once a right leader is on the saddle, the motivation to achieve, despite all noticeable obstacles is a fait accompli. No doubt, one ministry in the states civil service that had immensely benefitted from the successes of Governor Uzodinma’s electoral victory is the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Physical Planning Notoriously noted as a no-go-area for political appointees, because of the avalanche of fraud and other malfeasance that takes place in the Ministry, Governor Uzodinma’s coming marked the beginning of what a money-spinning ministry should look like.

For over eight years, the ministry has been bedeviled with fraud, fake speculators, none existence or improper records of business transactions and a low level of morale among the workforce with it’s attendant back-bitting, witch-hunting and fear of the unknown among staff. However, knowing the strategic importance of the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Physical Planning, to his administration; the amiable governor  dug deep to appoint an astute administator with a Spartan patriotism, a committed and loyal apostle of the 3R mantra and a reknowned lawyer, Hon. Barr. Enyinna Onuegbu, KSC, as the Commissioner in charge of the Ministry. Onuegbu’s appointment has not only revitilized the Ministry, but has restored confidence of land owners, business men and international community that hitherto, would not touch the State with a long spoon, sanitized the place and equally restored confidence within the staff.

He has this to say: “Since we assumed office, I think anybody who visits the Ministry of Lands today will notice that there is a paradigm shift. The first thing you will notice is that you won’t see those thugs, agents, fake speculators who hang around the Ministry of Lands, purporting to do transactions whether real or imagined, whether on paper or fact. They are no longer there because the atmosphere is no longer conducive for such racketeering, and that is the first thing you will notice. You will also notice that the staff are highly motivated. The back-bitting, the witch-hunting, the fear of the unknown that used to be the order of the day, the degree of insubordination over seniors because they are likely to be maliable, to do what is not right, that are likely to do the bidding of political appointees, is no longer there. We have restored confidence in the seniority and followership restored confidence in the staff that what they are doing is appreciated and all these goes to show that this change making leadership of Sen. Hope Uzodinma is on the right track.

” Apart from the threat posed by fake land speculators, original landowners and businessmen who have dealings with the state is another area Commissioner Onuegbu is battling with. He said: “Well, the most important thing is to note that the administration of His Excellency, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodinma is a significant change for the welfare, integrity and respect Imo State enjoys in the comity of states in Nigeria, and to bring dividends of democracy to the welfare of Imolites. Now, with what is going on in the Ministry of Lands, we are pursuing agenda of restoring confidence not only to the land owners, but the entire class of businessmen and international community who may want to have one or two dealings with Imo State on the economic front, those who are coming to invest. If the story is that title to the land cannot be found in one man or authority, they will feel reluctant to invest in Imo. So we are on a mission to sanitize our lands records keeping system. This is why His Excellency, as soon as he resumed office, decided and announced that there will be comprehensive computerization in the operations of the Lands Ministry, not only in terms of details as to land holding, but even the salaries, the revenues and everything connected with the operations of the lands registry so that by one button, you can know every history about a particular property that originated from government.” On the challenges facing his ministry, the Commissioner has this to say: “You know when I say it, people think it’s because we’re naming names.

 The truth is that the Land Record System of the Ministry of Lands Imo State, in the last 8 years plus was run down. If you remember the time of Chief Ikedi Ohakim, he started the IGIS, that is, Imo State Geographical system, for land usage but when the government of His Excellency, Rochas Okorocha took over, that thing was kept at the background, it was abandoned, it led to a lot of upheavals. The major problem we are facing is that every day I receive not less than 30-40 mails. More than two-thirds of those mails will be complaints on irregularities in allocation, irregularities in possession and pending litigations. Either they are calling my attention to a case pending in Court or they are complaining that the land which has been given to them for which they are paying ground rent and all required fees, suddenly they go to the land and someone is building on it, or making a fence.

So we are saddled with the problem of collating and collecting these mountainous complaints as a result of the lack of proper administration of lands ministry in the last eight years and we will not shy away from saying it, not minding the naysayers but I would say also you ask yourself, if you are able to have twenty layouts, how come those layouts are not with amenities and not parcilated? They exist only on paper. How come the natives of the surrounding communities; Nekede, Ihiagwa, Obinze, Avu, etc, are still going into the same called estates and selling lands purportedly acquired and allocated by government. It is because the process was not neatly done.” On the controversial Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Land Related Matters, Onuegbu has this to say: “Well, I think one of the soft spots of the previous administration, which I would want every sane and reasonable Imolite to know is that the Lands Ministry was in total mess.

It got so bad that people were using Lands allocation documents to buy vehicles. When you go to the Ministry, you find nothing was existing there. So when we took over, we inherited a Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Land Related Matters from the past administration. The panel headed by Justice Duruoha-Igwe was ractified by His Excellency Governor Hope Uzodinma. The panel concluded their works and submitted their reports and government study group went through it to produce in a form of White Paper. The Imo State Executive Council had about two weeks approved the white paper. So we are at the stage of gazzetting. When the gazzette comes out, there will be implementation. The main thing in the report is that we wanted to streamline issues about the distortion of the Owerri master plan, illegal acquisition of land from members of the public, illegal revocation of land, or in cases where there was actually no revocation and people’s lands were taken over by agents and functionaries of governor Okorocha administration. And also, as you know, the capital area has become mixed user contrary to the master plan of Owerri.

This is why the issue of panel of Inquiry from the time of Achike Udenwa to Rochas Okorocha is very significant and we believe the gazette will go a long way in restoring public confidence in the administration of Imo State government to land allocation. It may also interest you that the government of governor Hope Uzodinma is not or has not commenced allocation of land for private use in Imo State. I am aware that some people are parading allocation forms trying to deceive members of the public, we have not commenced for the reason that we are expecting the gazette, for the reason that we have agreed that because the hitherto Certificate of Occupancy, C o O of Imo State government have been found in places like Utako in Abuja, Enugu and in different homes in Imo State, so it made us revoke that previous C of O. So the governor has authorised the Nigerian Printing and Minting Company to print new C of O.

We have not taken delivery of it yet. We are still preparing allocation papers, so any transaction founded on those past ones we have condemned will not see the light of day. It will only amount to duping people.” But the greatest challenge Barr. Onuegbu, and by extension, the Shared Prosperity Government, will face is how to convince Imolites especially those in the diaspora and other genuine developers, to look before they leap in the issue of acquiring or buying land in the state. He has this to say: ” The most important thing is that our people should stop looking for acquisition of land that is seriously undervalued. If anybody comes to tell you that he has a government allocation for a plot of land say in Centenary City Layout which is along Port Harcourt Road and he is offering it to you for N500,000 or one million naira, you know that there is something wrong because even land in the most interior part of Okolochi, a plot is more than a million naira there.

How will somebody offer you a land in AVU and be telling you to pay Seven Hundred thousand or one million? Every day, they bring application for Search on allocation paper. Most of those allocations, the charges on those allocation papers were not paid to the state government. So people should be reluctant to rush into land transactions based on allocation papers. People should be reluctant to come to my ministry to ask me to change the name on the allocation papers to their own names, because some of the names on the allocation papers are non-existent names, unverifiable names. People should stop coming to my office to tell me that their C of O was lost during the civil war, Imo state was not here during the civil war. So the problem is  that our people should stop looking for cheap business. Like there is a place at Orji now we are having issues called Riverside, between Orji and Amata Ikeduru. There is an area there set out for a layout, we are having issues there now.

At the last week of the end of the tenure of the last administration, more than 300 allocation papers left the ministry of lands, and people are going about trying to buy that area. It was not concluded, there are cases like that. I know that I am not supposed to be that open of those things, but we need to warn our people. That is why, if you check in the last one month, we have made more than five public notices, including warning native owners, communities within the Capital Territory, 15km Radius from Assumpta Cathedral East, West, North, and South. We have warned them: Imo State Government is not acquiring any land presently. Any speculator that comes to you that he is an agent of the Imo State government to acquire land, including Federal Agencies, don’t oblige. Because when a community gives away hundred hectares of land for Housing Estate to an individual or company, no matter who the company is representing, that community has lost both farming and habitation areas. So, His Excellency says when we have such applications, first you must write to the governor.  When His Excellency endorses such things to us to investigate, His Excellency has directed that the community must be made aware of what they are doing. And if you want a project of such, you must give us the design for us to know what you are actually doing, so that we don’t filter away our land.

” Well, it may not yet be Uhuru for the Shared Prosperity Government of Governor Hope Uzodinma, but the indices points to a greater brighter future for all Imo people. And Commissioner Onuegbu shared in this optimism, “I believe that the administration of His Excellency, Distinguished Senator Hope Odidika Uzodinma means well for the state. He has the courage, vision and determination to turn things around. With what is on the ground, the massive road projects, salaries and pensions paid as at when due, etc, Imo people will look back and thank God for bringing Gov. Uzodinma.

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Alleged Non Payment Of Salaries: Imo Staff Ass. of Nig Universities Embarks On Strike Today, As Nonso Nkwa Raises Alarm Over Plot To Silence Him

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Owing to allegations on non payment of salaries, staggered payments, under payment of salaries amongst others, the senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities Imo State Chapter vowed to embark on strike today.

In a release titled “Notice of Indefinite Strike Action by the Organized Labour of Imo State, and signed by the Acting Chairman of the group Harrison Agumbah and the secretary Ambrose Okereafor and made available to Lead they accused  Imo State Government of Non Payment of salaries, under payment staggered payment amongst others Imo State Government has recently published the names of genuine civil servants in the state totaling 42,000 out of which they have paid salaries to 41000 upto December 2020.

Addressing the press on the said issue, the commissioner for Information Declan Emelumba revealed that the remaining one thousand workers yet to be paid were those with BVN and other related issues which according to him would be paid as soon as the problems were ratified.

Meanwhile, One of the Radio presenters of Ozisa FM, Chinonso Uba Popularly known as Nonso Nkwa has raised alarm over plot to silence him.

In a press release signed by Nonso Nkwa himself and  made available to Lead, the presenter who did not mention the name of  any person, group or organization as responsible for the said threat, revealed that the said threat  was coming as a result of his stand on the alleged non payment of workers salaries in Imo.

I have reliably gathered information that some persons are planning to make me disappear for my constant defense and advocacy for Unpaid Imo Workers and Pensioners…

I therefore wish to state categorically that I will never stop advocating for the suffering Imo workers and Pensioners no matter the threat to my life because this is a divine assignment am doing…

Nonsonkwa is not a saint but definitely a Defender of the Masses;and the goodwill of the Masses and the Grace of God will Protect my going out and my coming in….

Finally, Nothing scares a Man of Integrity and an advocate of the Masses!!!

Ndi Imo remains my Constituents and I will never back out…God Forbid!!!

Am simply doing Gods Work;nothing more nothing less!!!

If God be for Us,Who can be against Us!!!

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Imo Politics

Ohanaeze Youth Accuses Okorocha, Ibe Of Inciting IPOB Against Organization

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The National President of Ohanaeze Youth Council(OYC), the apex youth body of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Comrade Igboayaka O. Igboayaka has admonished Mr Chidi Ibe to refrain from making inciting statements capable of causing disunity and disharmony among Igbos.

Igboayaka gave the reprimand after the Council’s stakeholders’ meeting conveyed to x-ray the insultive utterances of Mr Ibe since the emergence of Prof. George Obiozor, as the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

Addressing newsmen in Owerri on Saturday January 23, 2021, the youth leader maintained that Mr. Ibe’s inciting statements against Ohanaeze Ndigbo is emboldened by the sponsorship he enjoys from Senator Rochas Okorocha.

Comrade Igboayaka stated that Rochas Okorocha’s unguarded tirades against Prof. George Obiozor was due to the insinuation and assumption that Prof. Obiozor and Sen. Hope Uzodinma are very close friends, stating that this was Okorocha’s statement at Ogboko when he(Igboayaka) had a meeting with him on the way forward for Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

“It’s obvious that Prof. Obiozor’s ambition to become the president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo was not conceived during Sen. Hope Uzodinma’s administration as the former had severally consulted Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha when he was the governor of Imo State.

“Rochas Okorocha wants to anchor his presidential ambition with sentiments on Ohanaeze Ndigbo and IPOB which explains why he was using Chidi Ibe to incite IPOB against the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, to achieve a political sympathy and love from IPOB members,” Igboayaka noted.

“It’s very unfortunate that since the inception of Biafra agitation, many Igbo politicians have used pro-Biafrans to achieve their political selfish interests, and at the end they give pro-Biafra members name. Today, Chidi Ibe and Rochas Okorocha have found a new love in IPOB like Romeo and Juliet, just to project themselves as lovers of the Biafra movement,” Igboayaka stated.

“Were was Rochas Okorocha and Chidi Ibe when IPOB members are being killed and tortured by the security agents, and how many IPOB members did Ibe empower when he was Commissioner in Okorocha’s administration,” Igboayaka queried.

The OYC president stated that Chidi Ibe was using his inciting statements stressed mobilize IPOB for Okorocha’s presidential project, stressing that it is unacceptable for anyone to use his personal ambition to cause crisis with Igbo youths in IPOB.

He decried that the time and resources Okorocha was wasting in court to distract his brother Prof. Obiozor, could be channelled to a substantive adventure that can favour Ndigbo, wondering how at this critical point the Igbos are eaten starkly by leprosy while Rochas Okorocha and Chidi Ibe are busy romancing ringworm.

“Enough of this gimmick and nonsense by desperate Igbo politicians using Ndigbo and Biafra quest to whip up sentiments while in actual sense they are major beneficiaries of looting of Nigeria’s treasury,” Igboayaka warned.

“Ohanaeze Youth Council will not succumb to the politics of divide and rule by Chidi Ibe and his master Sen. Rochas Okorocha in Igbo land, but any patriotic progressive who love Ndigbo should drop his or her personal agenda and earnestly support Prof. Obiozor to build a new Igbo society as he leads the great Igbo race in the next four years,” he concluded.

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Court Determines Nkechi Ugwu’s Fate Feb. 19 Over Certificate Case

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A Commissioner in Imo State Mrs Nkechi Ugwu has been sued by a concerned citizen  Mr. Obum Joseph, who is from  Imo State,  to present her certificate, with which she was screened through by the Imo State House of Assembly, before she was made a commissioner.

   In suit No. FHC/OW/CS/71/2020, dated 24th day of June and filed on the 26th day of June, 2020, at the Federal High Court, Owerri, presided over by His Lordship Tijani G. Ringim, Mr. Obum Joseph, through his legal counsel Barrister Kings Nwosu, based in Aba, Abia State, presented his originating summons, demanding the court to compel Mrs Nkechi Ugwu to present to the public the certificate with which she was screened through before becoming a commissioner.

  Addressing journalists at the Federal High Court, Owerri, when the matter was presented on Thursday, Counsel to Obum Joseph stated that the litigant took the first defendant Mrs Ugwu to court in view of the fact that as a concerned citizen of Imo State, from the same state with the Commissioner, that he (Obum Joseph) was duty bound to compel the first defendant to produce the certificate, in order to ascertain whether she was qualified to occupy the position, as according to his counsel: “he now feels that if Nkechi is made a Commissioner without presenting certificate when there are other better people, who have also served the interest of the party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), from the area, who have better Certificate that should have been considered instead of Nkechi Ugwu, that it will not augur well for his Local Government Area Ideato South.

  Counsel to Obum Joseph Barrister Kings Nwosu further said that instead of Nkechi Ugwu to simply comply with the demand of Obum Joseph, by presenting the demanded certificate, she through her counsel Barrister D. O. Agbo , raised some preliminary objections that Freedom of Information Bill (FIB) is not applicable in Imo State, as such that  the request by Obum should not be granted by the court.

  Barrister Kings Nwosu also stated that Mrs Ugwu equally maintained in her preliminary objections that nobody has come  to ask her for the certificate; in other words that the litigant and his counsel ought to have first of all asked her to present the certificate before taking her to court.

  Barrister Kings Nwosu further hinted thus: “in the affidavit in support of our originating summons, Obum Joseph made stenous  efforts that were geared towards making her to present the certificate, even before coming to court but she did not present it, hence he (Obum) now came to the court.”

  Furthering, Barrister Nwosu said: “Obum Joseph is acting as a concerned citizen because he comes from Imo state,the same state  with Nkechi Ugwu.”

  Joined in the suit, according to Barrister Kings Nwosu are: The Clerk, Imo State House of Assembly; the Imo State House of Assembly and the Attorney General of Imo State, in that order, Nkechi Ugwu being the first defendant.

  “I, acting for Obum Joseph, presented his originating summons and the lawyers from the Ministry of Justice  and the Attorney General office moved their counter claim, issued before the court. Arguments were taken and we asked the court to grant our application in respect of the originating summons, which Obum Joseph filled against Nkechi Ugwu. After replies from both Counsels, the Court unanimously adjourned the matter for 19th of February, 2021 for judgement,” Barrister Nwosu submitted.

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