Posted by News Express | 14 August 2013 | 5,241 times
Lagos State Govornor Babatunde Fashola has ordered the re-opening of the Ikoyi home of former Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu following Kalu’s outcry that he was being victimised for spearheading the opposition to the July 24 dumping of 72 alleged destitute in Onitsha, Anmbra State, by the Fashola administration.
The order to reopen Kalu’s house was announced late yesterday by Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Aderemi Ibirogba, via a statement that read thus:
“The attention of the Lagos State Government has been drawn to a misleading claim by a businessman, Mr. Orji Uzor Kalu that his Ikoyi home has been sealed off following a threat to sue the Lagos State Government over an unrelated matter.
“We wish to state, for the avoidance of doubt, that nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that Mr. Orji Uzor Kalu’s property in Park View Estate, Ikoyi was distrained pursuant to Section 40 of the Revenue Administration Law of Lagos State for failure to pay the statutory annual land use charge despite three separate notices delivered to the said property.
“As a government driven by law and process, the Lagos State Government will ordinarily expect all law abiding residents to discharge their responsibilities to the state.
“If, in spite of failing to do so, Mr. Orji Uzor Kalu wants to give ethnic colouration to a routine performance of its duties by an agency of the state government, which in this case is the Land Use Charge Office, under the Ministry of Finance, he is welcome to do so.
“However it should be noted that when the issue was brought to the attention of the Governor, Tuesday evening, he directed the agency to unseal the property and that an additional 14 days grace period be given to Mr. Kalu to pay the said charge.
“It should be emphasised that notices like these are served on defaulting property owners on a regular basis who either comply or contact the Agency to raise any objections they might have to such notice. Mr. Orji Uzor Kalu, like every other citizen, must fulfil his obligation to the State.”
Kalu had earlier in the day lamented his ordeal through a statement signed by his Special Adviser (Media), Emeka Obasi, which read”
“The Lagos State Government has sealed a property of a former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, in Park View Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos.
“The sealing of the house is coming on the heels of the criticism of Fashola by Kalu over the deportation of 72 residents of Lagos, who are of South East origin.
“The Igbo men and women were dumped by the Lagos State Government under the bridge in Onitsha, Anambra State, in the wee hours of the day.
“Amnesty International has in fact put the number of Lagos State residents deported by the Fashola administration at over 9,000.
“Kalu had after the development told Fashola to apologise to the Igbos for the deportation and threatened to sue him if he failed to do so.”
Obasi had alleged that the action was “done as a revenge for the criticism of Kalu, who is the Coordinator of Njiko Igbo, a group fighting the cause of the South East.”
He said the property had been there for several years and that sealing it after just two weeks of his boss criticsing Fashola over the deportation issue was an indication that there was more to it.
Kalu, according to Obasi, is not the only Igbo who has suffered such fate in Lagos State “after the wicked and ungodly act of deporting legitimate residents of Lagos State.”
“Why is it that it is now that the property is being sealed, barely two weeks after my boss disagreed with the action of Fashola?” he asked, adding:
“We maintain our stand and this will not distract us from fighting for the people. The action of the Lagos State Government remains unconstitutional because every citizen of Nigeria has a right to live in any part of the country. Fashola should remember that the Igbo community constitutes about 35 per cent of registered voters in Lagos State and they should be treated like they matter in the scheme of things.”
•Photo shows Governor Fashola.
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