· Forcefully acquires lockup shops at Area N, World Bank
By Martin Opara
There are speculations that the “my family, my family” syndrome that ravaged and plundered the state during former Governor Rochas Okoroha’s tenure resulting in the unlawful and forceful acquisition of government and individuals properties is gradually being replicated by the present administration despite what many refer to as Governor Hope Uzodinma’s orchestrated and diversionary recovery of ill-acquired lands and other properties in the state.
These speculations are given credence by recent allegations that the Governor’s younger sister, Mrs Loveth Eleanyasin, popularly called Adaji is presently at war with some people over the ownership of 28 lockup shops built at Area N, WORLD Bank Housing Estate, Owerr, close to St John’s Anglican Church.
Adaji’s Personal Assistant, one Ephraim Amukamara is also alleged to have fraudulently sold a plot of land at Redemption Estate Owerri to an unsuspecting buyer, who on attempting to develop the property was confronted by the rightful owner, Mr Obichere, a staff of Zenith Bank who promptly informed the police leading to the arrest and detention of Amukamara who confessed to the crime.
“When contacted, a staff of Imo State Housing Corporation who pleaded anonymity said, “I am aware that a man who claimed to have bought a plot of land at Redemption Estate came to our office for fencing permit and other approvals. But when he tendered the document given to him by one Ephraim Amukara who he said sold the land to him, they were found to be fake as he (Ephraim) was not the rightful owner of the land. According to our records. We advised him to report to the police and recover his money, because the land belongs to one Mr Obichere, a staff of Zenith Bank. I don’t actually known what happened later because none of them came back to us.”
A resident of World Bank who does not want his name in print told this reporter that, “when work commenced on the site of the lockup shops, at Area “N”, we out of curiosity confronted the developer because the land to the best of our knowledge belongs to government. However, those involved tendered document showing that the portion of land on which the shops were being constructed had been allocated to Oharp Ventures and Team Work Nig Ltd by the state government.”
Further investigation revealed that “the project was being financed by one Chinonso Akwueke. We were at no time told of the involvement of Madam Adaji who is said to be Governor Uzodinma’s younger sister. Neither did we see nor hear from her all through the negotiations and discussions we had with those concerned, before, during and after the construction of the shops. “We are therefore surprised to hear that she is now claiming ownership of the shops.”
Another resident of the area who simply identified himself as Chief Ikenna said, “when we initially protested against the construction of the shops, on government land, we held series of meetings with the contractor Obed Agoha, the Financier, Chinonso Akwueke and the original allottees of the land who showed us allocation papers confirming that the portion of land was allocated to them by the state government Govenor Uzodinma’s sister, Adaji was at no time in the picture, neither was she present at any of the meetings we held with the contractor, the sponsor and the original allottees of the land.”
Most people who commented on the development expressed disappointment that Gov Hope Uzodinma who claimed to have come to sanitize the system and clear the rot perpetrated by former Gov Okorocha, family and aides has also allegedly toed the infamous path of gluttonous acquisition of properties.
“For instance, he reportedly facilitated the award of the contract for the rehabilitation of the Owerri/Port Harcourt road to his younger brother, Uche Uzodinma who is neither an engineer nor has any experience in road construction.
The same Uche is said to be attached to the Owerri Capital Development Authority as the Consultant in charge of the collection of sundry revenue from residents and developers of properties at Avu, Obinze, etc.
“Besides, the governor’s younger sister Adaji has also allegedly become the middle man who liases with and recommends contractors who handle most government projects on outrageous terms which the contractors are compelled to accept grudgingly.”
When contacted, Madam Adaji denied any involvement or link with the construction of the 28 shops at Area “N” World Bank Housing Estate, Owerri and other allegations leveled against her, pointing out that those falsely peddling such information about her involvement in the construction of the shops are either being dishonest, mischievous or sponsored by desperate politicians to blackmail her.
When also contacted, the financier of the lockup shops at Area “N” World Bank Housing Estate, Hon Chinonso Akweke confirmed that he financed the construction of the lock up shops which Madam Adaji is accused of attempting to falsely acquire. He also confirmed that the land on which the shops were built was allocated to Oharp Ventures and Team Work Nig Ltd by the state government and “all necessary documentation and approvals were obtained from relevant agencies and establishments prior to the commencement of work on the site.
He further said, “as a law abiding citizen who believes in due process and rule of law, I always ensure that the right things are done, necessary approvals and certifications obtained, all levies and dues payable are complied with before I get involved in any project because I don’t believe in cutting corners”.
On his part, Madam Adaji’s Personal Assistant, Ephraim Amukamara said, “It is true that I sold Mr Obichere’s land at Redemption Estate without his consent. But the matter has been resolved as I have started refunding the money to the buyer with interest.”