Posted by News Express, Lagos | 9 September 2012 | 8,237 times
The Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has vowed to demolish the recently erected statue of late Ezeigbo Gburugburu, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, if urgent action is not taken by government to clear the vicinity of criminals and traders and to complete the road named after the late statesman.
“If Ojukwu Gateway & Statue continue to wear an eyesore and a disrespectful look in weeks to come, we shall have no other option than to remove the sacred statue and detach the name from the area renamed,” MASSOB, which was inspired by the late Ojukwu, threatened this evening.
The threat is contained in a joint statement issued in Onitsha, where the Ojukwu Gateway and Statue are located, by MASSOB, the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety), Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Human Rights Club of LRRDC-HRC and Human Rights Development International (HRDI).
Entitled “Ojukwu Gateway& Statue In Onitsha Abandoned & Converted To Sodom & Gomorrah”, the statement was signed by Comrade Uchenna Mmadu, National Director of Information, MASSOB; Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety Nigeria; Comrade Aloysius Attah, Chairman, CLO, Anambra State Branch; Comrade Samuel Njoku, Coordinator, HRC of LRRDC, Anambra State Branch; and Comrade Peter Onyegiri, Zonal Coordinator, HRDI, Southeast Nigeria.
“While condemning the present eyesore status of the Ojukwu Gateway,” the activists called “on the Government of Anambra State to as a matter of uttermost urgency and importance, address the problems enumerated above or remove the Ikemba’s statue from the site and return the area renamed to the status quo ante bellum if the State Government lacks the capacity of competence and urgency.”
Continuing, the statement said: “Any project in Ikemba’s name and honour should defy any form of delay including excuses of rainy season. Besides, the mobilisation stage of road reconstruction involving clearing of unwanted soil/sand, removal of obstruction objects such as shanties, kiosks and bricks, and construction/reconstruction of drainages, usually done at the heat of rainy season, have not been done and completed in this respect, not to talk of the reconstruction proper. From our detailed findings, the Government of Anambra State should swiftly ask for the immediate removal of the Federal Controller of Works for Anambra State as well as the site manager of the firm handling the reconstruction work; the CCC Nig. Ltd., Eng. Chamy. Our joint call for their immediate removal is premised on suspected conflict of interest, sabotage, selfishness and corruption.
“If funds are responsible for putting the work at the lowest pace, the Government of Anambra State should provide enough funds immediately and seek for refund from the Federal Government later; if security is the problem, the State Security Council should post adequate security personnel to the site to be aided with human rights kits; if relocation of those trading and transporting in the area is the problem, the State Government should fully, forcefully but humanely carry out the relocation exercise and ensure that such exercise is environmentally and commercially friendly; and if the construction firm is the problem, the State Government should issue an ultimatum to the firm and in consultation with the President, revoke the contract and reward it to a more competent firm in the event of continuing slowest pace.
“We further call on the Government of Anambra State to clear the entire Niger Bridgehead-Ojukwu Gateway of hoodlums including motley of government revenue agents, both fake and authentic. As a matter of fact, the ASTA office under the Bridge should be closed down permanently and the entire place ridden of thuggish IGR agents, Motor Park touts, Okada and vehicle riders/drivers’ permits and emblems’ revenue collectors, etc. The Ojukwu Gateway should be adorned with a befitting roundabout and a recreation facility. It should also be magnificently flowered, lightened and kept clean at all times. It should as well be declared a freedom square for free speeches with immunity from arrest and trial. The sanitization exercise should be extended to Lagos and Aba Parks at Onitsha Upper Iweka where fake and serving police personnel from Okpoko Police Station in Ogbaru LGA, who usually go in mufti, as well as touts and criminals are causing havoc by terrorizing the innocent passers-by on daily basis with impunity. The despicable attitude of the iron traders at Uga Junction/Atani Road, who heap tons of rods on the edges of the newly constructed gutters of the Atani-Ogwuikpere Federal Road, built by the present Government of Anambra State, should also be checkmated as a matter of uttermost immediacy.
“On the issue of police brigandage, we call on the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ballah Nasarrawa, to ensure that no illegal roadblocks and extortionist activities are carried out anymore by police personnel working under the trio of the Onitsha AC, the DPO of the Onitsha CPS and the DPO of the Fegge Police Station. We also call on the CP to declare the DPO of the Fegge Police Station, Mr. Roland Omotoje a disaster and unfit to continue to serve in Anambra State. The reported criminal activities of the DPO including mass arrest and serial extortion of the Okada operators in Fegge usually from 6.30pm, has risen to an apogee. Those who refused to pay huge bribes or could not afford them are ordered by the DPO to be charged to magistrate court with spurious felonious charges, from where they are dumped in awaiting trial prison custody.”
News Express recalls that Ojukwu Gateway and Statue, located close to the famous Niger Bridge, were commissioned amid fanfare by President Goodluck Jonathan during his August 30 visit to Anambra State.
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