Posted by News Express | 1 August 2013 | 5,366 times
The spirited defence put up by All Progressives Congress (APC) Lagos chieftain, Chief Joe Igbokwe, for the July 24 deportation of scores of non-indigenes by the Lagos State Government has been exposed as a pack of lies by those at the receiving end of the controversial action.
In his article which we published yesterday, Engr. Igbokwe, erstwhile Lagos Publicity Secretary of the now defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and General Manager of the Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA), claimed as follows:
(1) “Before moving these destitute to Onitsha, Lagos State Government wrote to Anambra State Government on the matter and there was no reply until the State decided to move them to Onitsha.”
(2) The destitute were moved from Lagos to Onitsha in Anambra State “to re-unite with their families as requested.”
(3) “Most of these people are picked up mentally retarded, terribly abused, sexually dehumanized, hungry, weak, and memory lost. What Lagos does is to pick them up and take them to rehabilitation centres. There, they are rehabilitated, until they are strong enough to talk and give account of themselves.”
However, all three claims as contained in the article entitled “The So-called Onitsha Deportation: Time To Put The Records Straight and Stop All The Lies” have been contracdicted by those in the know.
On Igbokwe’s first claim, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State in his protest letter to President Goodluck Jonathan pointedly stated that “Lagos State did not even bother to consult with Anambra State authorities, before deporting 72 persons considered to be of Igbo extraction to Anambra State.”
Igbokwe’s claim that the people so deported were meted that treatment so as “to re-unite with their families as requested.”
Contrary to this, Obi said in his letter that “the Lagos State Government contrived inexplicable reasons to round up Nigerians, whom they alleged were Anambra indigenes (most of whom the SSS report shows clearly are not from Anambra state) and forcefully deported them to Anambra state, dumping them as it were in the commercial city of Onitsha.” The governor attached SSS report proving that many of the deportees are not Anambra indigenes, thus putting a lie to the claim that they were sent to Onitsha to reunite with their families.
Igbokwe’s claims that the deportees were rehabilitated before being sent away from Lagos and and were moved so as to reunite them with their families, have similarly been dismissed by one of those who interacted with them. According to Mr. Justus Ijeoma, MD/CEO at JustGod Global Concept Ltd:
“It is easy to tell a lie, but very difficult to defend it through. Igbokwe says the goal was to reunite them with their families. If that is true, why dump them at Upper Iweka in the middle of the night? Or are their family members at Upper Iweka? Again, are those deported from Anambra State? I personally went to Onitsha South Primary School where some of them were being taken care of and interviewed some of them. Among the few interviewed, none is from Anambra. For example, Osondu Agwu like many others hails from Okposi, in Ohozara LGA of Ebonyi State. Why didn’t LASG take them to Ebony state? Again, nothing can be farther from the truth than the assertion that ‘they were provided with logistics for that’. Those deported were with nothing. By the time they were seen at Upper Iweka that Wednesday morning, they were completely worn out with hunger and malnutrition. It only took the contributions and donations of sympathizers for them to that morning before the government came in. There is no amount of pontification that will make the unlawful and wicked act of LASG what it is not. Igbokwe should stop defending the indefensible.”
•Photo shows Chief Joe Igbokwe.
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