The threat by Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha to dispossess people of their hard earned landed properties and houses at the World Bank Housing Estate, Owerrri, has so far succeeded in sending many landlords to their early graves and untimely deaths. Coupled with the state governors inability to pay pensioners their outstanding monthly entitlements, most of the elderly Landlords of World Bank Estate are presently praying for their death rather than live to see their own houses, deprived of them.

One of them who spoke to Community Watchdog Newspapers recently on condition of anonymity had lamented that the World Bank Estate building, is all he has to bequeath to his children and wondered what they will think of him, if this singular possession is eventually denied him by virtue of his inability to pay sundry fees, levies and fines for the certificate of occupancy (CofC) of the building, as demanded by Governor Rochas Okorocha. Another threat is the one from the Federal Mortgage Bank Plc, insisting that those who collected credit facilities with which they built houses but who were unable to refund the money, risk losing the properties any moment from now. 

Just before the Christmas and New Year celebrations, two prominent landlords of World Bank Estate, Owerri, Chief Maduneme from Inyshi in Ikeduru LGA and Chief Eddie Anyanwu, from Ugiri Isiala Mbano LGA, passed on to the great beyond, having suffered heart attacks after attending an emergency meeting with Governor Okorocha, where they tried in vain to persuade the Governor to drop his threat and shelve his plans of demolishing World Bank Housing Estate Houses.

Late Maduneme, was the chairman of Area N, of World Bank Estate Neighbourhood Association until his death. He had an unfinished project to install the 300KVA transformer donated to the Area N of Word Bank Housing Estate in 2015 by Rt. Hon. Chief Emeka Ihedioha. He had led several delegations to NDDC Owerri and EEDC on the need to install the transformer and improve the often epileptic supply of electricity in the area. While the efforts were still in progress, Okorocha threatened to demolish or revoke the ownership of all houses, which according to him, are yet to obtain their C of O. It took the same late Chief Maduneme to mobilize residents and landlords of the Housing Estate to Imo Trade and Investments Centre New Owerri to plead with Okorocha to shelve his plans and rescind his anti people decisions on revocation of properties.

During the dialogue that ensued with Governor Okorocha, late Maduneme accused Okorocha of cursing the landlords thus, “waka, shege, nne unu, nna unu” in a desperate bid to drive his message home that he will not rescind his decisions. Chief Maduneme never survived the cardiac arrest and attack resulting after that encounter. He has since been committed to mother earth at his Inyishi Ikeduru home town. He was a retired school principal. Another victim, Chief Eddy Anyanwu a retired staff of Ministry of Works had collapsed at the Imo International Conference Centre (IICC) Owerri where he went to collect arrears of his monthly pension. He never survived the shock including the threat to deprive him of the only property he ever acquired for his children. He was buried on the 18th of December 2017 at Ugiri in Isiala Mbano LGA. Another victim of Okorochas heartless threat is the chairman of Zone III of Area N, of World Bank Estate Owerri. His corpse is still very cold in the morgue awaiting burial while many others are on the death row over Okorocha’s hard stance. Infact, many of the landlords are practical ghosts of their old selves with many of them who can hardly afford the cost of obtaining the new C of O or refunding the loan to Federal Mortgage Bank, embarking on hunger strike so that they do not live to witness the revocation of their houses by Okorocha.

Meanwhile, work has stagnated at the World Bank Mini market following the order of the Secretary to the Government of Imo State (SGI) Sir George Eche, that Ichie Uche Best Mbanso be replaced as contractor. Mbanaso was accused of collecting the sum of N10 million from members of the World Bank Market Traders Association but instead of investing the money in the upgrading of facilities in the market, he trespassed into the former PIU office and an open space at Ideal Suites roundabouts where he started developing a private shopping plaza. It took the eagle eyes of World Bank Landlords and traders who protested at government House to attract the attention of Sir Eche. Upon confirming that Ichie Uche Best Mbanaso did not acquire the public properties appropriately, OCDA authorities were ordered to demolish the illegal structure. However a criminal minded Ichie Best Uche Mbanaso has been unrelenting in continuing with the project and infact dared the SGI and OCDA before the Ministry of Lands wielded the big hammer and chased him out of site leading to the evacuation of building materials earlier stashed at the two sites.