A prominent indigene of Orji, Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State, Chief Amanze Paschal Njoku has cautioned against the euphoria trailing the recovery and return of stolen property to their owners by the state government.
Chief Njoku, who is the Administrator of Nfunala Development Initiative (aka Orji Aborigines Congress) gave the warning on Tuesday while speaking at a town hall meeting held in Owerri, the state capital.
The state Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku had announced at the meeting that government had fulfilled its pledge to return property forcefully taken by the Rochas Okorocha administration to their rightful owners.
The administrator pointed out that the affected people should not rejoice yet as some of the property were already subjects of litigation in different courts in the state.
He listed some of the affected property to be the Imo Broadcasting Corporation Staff Quarters in Orji; Shell Camp Layout, Owerri and Old Ministry of Works, Ugwu-Orji.
Njoku expressed regrets that nobody challenged ex-governor Rochas Okorocha when he confiscated these properties but expressed gratitude to God for saving Imolites from the ex-governor’s hegemony and familiocracy.
The renowned History graduate of University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) said he is in full support of the recovery of stolen Imo assets from past governments but cautioned that the affected persons should thread with caution to avoid walking into danger.
Njoku said; “The Imo Broadcasting Corporation Staff Quarters, Orji; Shell Camp, Owerri and Old Ministry of Works Ugwu-Orji are subjects of litigation in different courts. People should check the cause lists properly in their quest to retake possession of properties in these places to avert walking into danger.
“However, I support recovery of stolen Imo assets by the present administration. It is a good omen. Owelle Rochas Okorocha ruled unchallenged and did what he did. We thank God for saving us from his (Okorocha’s) hegemony”.
At town hall meeting, Chairman of the Committee on the Implementation of White Paper on Lands, Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie reeled out the following as property forcefully taken by the Okorocha administration:-
1. Public Buildings Plot P/2 Otamiri South Extention Layout (part of public Plot 2 given to Ministry of Women Affairs for the establishment of Skills Acquisition Centre for women), Plot P/5 Naze Residential layout (initially part of Primary Education Commission) were illegally converted to private use by Sen. Rochas Okorocha and given to his wife for her ALL-IN STORE along Aba road.
2. Magistrates Quarters, Co-operative office, and Girls Guide office all along Orlu road, Owerri, were illegally converted to private use by Sen. Rochas Okorocha and is unlawfully being used as Market Square and Kilimanjaro etc.
3. IBC Quarters at Orji and the public road leading up to it were illegally converted to private use by Sen. Rochas Okorocha and now houses Rochas Foundation College.
4. Legislative Aides/Staff Quarters opposite Concorde Hotel was illegally converted to private use by Sen. Rochas Okorocha and is now unlawfully being used as Heroes Apartments Residential Estate.
5. Almost the entire Area ‘P’, the proposed new Government House was illegally converted to private use by Sen Rochas Okorocha and is now in the hands of his various family members, in-laws and friends.
6. Ministry of Works yard along Okigwe road, Owerri is now an estate of private apartments known as Diaspora Village while all the equipments and the engineering laboratories installed there were carted away by Sen. Rochas Okorocha and his cronies.
7. Part of Deputy Governor’s Lodge and Government Office building at Orlu road were converted to Chief Rochas Okorocha’s Willowood Hotel.
8. Plot 75A, Housing Area “Old D” (Speakers Residence) was demolished and re-allocated to Chief Emma Ugorji who now uses it privately.
9. Eastern Palm University, Ogboko was converted to personal use by Chief Rochas Okorocha.
The Committee thereafter notified all those who have any of their properties or equipment on any of the listed Government areas to vacate them on or before mid of December 2021, noting that “Thereafter, Government through this Committee will recover the land for Government and the good people of Imo State.”