Chairman Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Imo West, yesterday took a swipe at the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, asking him to stop the present demolition exercise in the state against the backdrop that the people are suffering in the face of the present recession.
Senator Anyanwu who also urged the governor to recall the sacked traditional rulers in some parts of the state, said that governments at all levels should be human and citizen friendly in its policies, adding that his office has received series of petitions from the people over the action of the governor.
According to the Senator in a statement made available to Vanguard yesterday, besides the demolition of property in the state by the government and sack of traditional rulers, there were also threats to relocate what he described as the age-long Ekeukwu Owerri market, Orji and Nekede mechanic villages without adequate palliatives.
In a statement by his media aide, Kelechi Eke, Senator Samuel Anyanwu said: “My attention as the Senator representing Owerri zone in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has been drawn to the unfortunate incidents that are happening in Imo State, especially in Owerri senatorial zone where I ably represent.
“This reaction is borne out of many factors that include the need to intervene on behalf of my violated and bruised constituents, the many petitions, protests and calls that have inundated my office as the representative of Owerri zone, a clear statement of my disapproval and discontentment to the unjustifiable demolitions of citizens properties and other sundry decisions especially as they run foul of globally acceptable standards.
“There is no doubt that the economy of the country is “technically in recession” according to the most recent reports of the managers of the nation’s economy. It is therefore expected that governments at all levels should be human and citizen- friendly in its policies. Governments are for the welfare and well being of the people and anything less can be anti people, and could descend to the Hobbean idea of life being brutish and short.
“It is worrisome to observe that since the last general election in 2015, the incumbent State government has been acting as if it is at war with its own citizens going by its actions and inactions. The latest is the spate of demolitions of peoples properties, sack of Traditional Rulers and threats to relocate the agelong Ekeukwu Owerri Market, Orji and Nekede Mechanic villages without adequate palliatives. This is absolutely ludicrous.
“I must not take for granted the fact that Urban Renewal is a welcomed development as it enhances development, it is also true that such policies are expected to go with commensurate compensation plan and adequate prior notice. This is especially as most of the buildings demolished got approvals from the same State Government agencies like the OCDA. The reality on round is that the present condition of the economy and the rainy season do not in any way support the ongoing demolitions in the State, especially in Owerri the State capital, and government should have considered these factors if indeed it has the interest of the citizens at heart. It is fantastically unbelievable that the same State government is also demolishing structures it erected not up to three years ago.
“This is a huge waste of public fund in a State where workers and pensioners are owed months of salary arrears, and are also forced to accept seventy percent of their entitlements any time the government decides to pay.
“Equally condemnable is the alleged sack of some Traditional rulers that have been on suspension by the State government since last year. The traditional institution in Igboland is revered, inviolable and sacred, and therefore need to be accorded dignity and respect.
“The sack of some Traditional Rulers that include the immediate past Chairman of Ikeduru Council of Traditional Rulers and Traditional Ruler of Owubinubu, HRH Eze Engr. Ben Ik Nwaneri, my marriage sponsor and Traditional Ruler of Obetiti, HRH Eze Reginald Amadi, and the Traditional Ruler of Awaka Ancient Kingdom, HRH Eze Akujor Osuagwu among others for no other reason than welcoming a sitting President of the Country, the then President Goodluck Jonathan smack of unnecessary victimization, inexhaustible abomination, oppressiveness, and an affront on the Traditional Institution.
“It is important to note that the time of politicking is over, and we are now faced with real issues of governance and quality representation, consequently all our actions should be devoid of party politics with the reality that power is transient.
“For the avoidance of doubt, I do not intend to present the litany of petitions against the State government by well meaning citizens of the State who are also victims of the demolitions under the crucible of the hallowed chambers of the Senate in my capacity as the Chairman Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Petitions in order not to bring our dear State to public opprobrium.
“It is on this premise that I most sincerely appeal to the State Government to reconsider these latest decisions and save our people from the hardship these actions can engender, as well as recall the sacked Traditional Rulers back to their stool. The purpose of government is for the interest of the people, and any government policy that does not get the support of the people does not work implementation. God bless Imo.” (Vanguard)