…asks public to discountenance the false media reports
Published by Johnpaul Anih
Reacting to the viral post on the social media which alleged falsification of signature by the Enugu State Commissioner for Lands, Daily Star Online news interviewed him to ascertain the true position of things.
Certain media Publications suspected to have been sponsored by Private Estates International West Africa Limited, a limited liability company which the said media publication claimed that Dr. Victor Chukwuemeka Nnam, the Honorable Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development, Enugu State, has been charged to court for Land acquisition and other sundry allegations therewith.
Dr. Nnam stated that he has never been served with any criminal summons or charge as therein alleged in the publication.
He advised the general public to discountenance the media reports targeted at tarnishing his image, describing the act as the handiwork of mischief makers committed to bringing his image to disrepute.
According to his legal team, any efforts or attempts to malign him and smear his character with false allegations will be highly resisted though within the ambit of the law.
“The substantive matter is the revocation of 1097 Hectares of land at Obeagu/Amechi Awkunanaw covered by building Certificate of Occupancy registered as 20/20/1622 issued to Private Estate International West Africa Limited by Enugu State Government which was said to have been done without due process. Private Estates International West Africa Limited, has been laying claim over the parcel of land allocated to Private Estate International West Africa Limited at Obeagu/Amechi Awkunanaw vide Certificate of Occupancy dated 10th March, 2009 and registered as No. 20/20/1622, Enugu.
However, ten years after the Certificate of Occupancy was issued, the Enugu State Government observed that the development partnership between Private Estates International West Africa Limited and the State Government was neither presented nor approved by the State Executive Council; consequently, no yellow paper was issued under the seal of the Government of Enugu State to sanction such magnitude of project”.
The company, Private Estates International West Africa Limited, has been in continuous breach of improvements premium charge of N4, 470,750,000.00 (Four billion, four hundred and seventy million, seven hundred and fifty thousand naira) as contained in conditions of the revoked title as preceding the issuance of Certificate of Occupancy and ground rent totalling N330, 000,000.00 (Three hundred and thirty million naira) only per annum for the past ten years.
The state government also notes that the said company, Private Estates International West Africa Limited, which has transacted profitably on the land since 2009 till date, has not made any payment to Enugu State Government as proceed or as compensation. In addition, the Survey Plan to the Building Certificate of Occupancy bears private survey plan number which is not attributable to Enugu State Survey delineation numbers.
Consequently, the Enugu State Government policy on public/private partnership on land development made the land available to the company to build houses and sell at affordable prices to the public, the reason for which premium was deferred, but that the said land has been percellated and spaces allocated to the public, when the ministry remains the allocating authority.
Further to the above, there was no Building Approval from Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority prior to the construction of buildings in the layout and the grant of Building Certificate of Occupancy to the company was to catalyze urgent development of this area which the companys current mileage of work and development has grossly undermined, leaving the vast area hugely underdeveloped for close to ten years running.
In addition, the development control unit of the state has observed that the development so far carried out on the property is not in accordance with Government Approved Layout Plan while the Ministry of Lands observed with dismay that a good number of members of the host community (Amechi and Obeagu) are residing in the land in question, consequently, there have been litany of ongoing litigations between the company, the Government and the community who claim that their Customary Right of Occupancy was not revoked and as such no compensation was paid to them.
It should be recalled that in the 1985 Enugu State University of Science and Technology (PLAN EN (A) 594) which was purportedly signed by Late Surv. Igboanugo is dated 1985 when the University was not in existence is an aberration.
While a notice of an Intention to revoke was served on the company and there was no response from the company. Consequent upon the above infractions, the Building Certificate of Occupancy was revoked by the state government in order to resolve the issues surrounding the land in question.
Private Estates International West Africa Limited has gone to court to challenge the legitimacy of the revocation done by Enugu State Government and the matter is yet to be determined. To this effect, the court had advised the parties (i.e. Enugu State Government, Private Estates International West Africa Limited, and the Host community) to go and discuss an out of court settlement option.
It can be recalled that on Saturday 25th July, 2020, the Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, had in a meeting with the parties at the Government House where they discussed possible ways of settlement. The meeting was adjourned for further consultations and discussions.
“We want to state on behalf of our client that the sole reason for the alleged charges if any is for this smear campaign and to distract or divert the attention of the general public from the substantial issues of illegal acquisition of the land and the existing matters in court with regards to the revocation of the Certificate of Occupancy over the 1097 hectares of Obeagu Awkunanaw/Amechi Uwani Awkunanaw ancestral home and farm lands.
“However, the Honorable Commissioner will continue to act in the best interest of the state government and Enugu people in general and will not be cowed by few individuals who he may have provided services for in the past”.