By Christopher Oji
Some aggrieved citizens, especially from Anambra State, have appealed to Governor Charles Soludo to help them to retrieve their parcels of land from the state Ministry of Housing, which have not been handed over to them many years after payment.
The aggressive citizens, who operate under the name, AHOCOL victims, want Soludo to wade into the matter which they fear was not among the liabilities handed over to him by the previous administration.
In a petition signed by Egwuonwu Emmanuel Eme; Eresimadu, Festus Nnofu, Ukaegbu, Thankgod Ekene, and many others, said between 2010 and 2013, the state government, through its Ministry of Housing, acting via its agency/legal body, AHOCOL Savings & Loan Limited, advertised that it was developing estates totalling 22 in number, for the total number of 3,724 plots, or thereabouts, in its proposed Housing Estates, in different areas, outlining the Awka Capital Territory.
“A good number of citizens of Nigeria, including our humble selves, reacted positively, by investing in the said estates proposed and advertised, for development, by the Anambra State Government, through its Ministry for Housing, and its agency/legal entity highlighted above, by paying for the said lands on offer, for the estates development.
“Most of us, made payments, totalling to the sum, ranging from N385,000:00 to N720,000, or more, per plot of land, in these advertised/proposed estates for development, at Mgbakwu, and the other areas, by the state government. The break down of the payments that we made per each plot, as it related to Chukwuemeka Housing Estate, Phase 3, as were applicable to the other locations, if not more, were as follows:-application for a plot of land- N10,000; payment for a plot of land- N180,000; acceptance fee, N10,000; building plan, N100,000; survey plan, N45,000; ground rent, N30,000; power of attorney, N10,000. Same or different degrees of differences equally applied in all the proposed Housing Estates listed above.
“After these payments, all the efforts made for the state government to take us to the physical locations of the proposed estates at Mgbakwu and the other locations, to show us our respective plots of lands which we have completed payments for, as enumerated above, for possession and development, failed.
We understand that the money that we paid to the state government for the purchases of the lands, through its legal entity above mentioned, falls into the category of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for the state government. We are worried and feel most doubtful, if the money realised from all the Nigerian citizens, who invested in the said land purchases, amounting to the neighbourhood of N1,433,740,000:00 or thereabouts, and possibly, even more, ever found its way, wholly or in part, officially and formally, into the coffers of the state government, which is why we very strongly feel that the management of the AHOCOL Savings and Loans Ltd may have taken, not just us the investors, but the Anambra State Government, its promoters and owners to the cleaners, in what would amount to be a ponzi scheme of epic proportions, heinously and mindlessly perpetrated against a largely clan, of retirees and its owners/employer, to wit: Anambra State government.
“The idea of the state owned AHOCOL Savings& Loan Ltd going into receivership throws up some salient issues, which we strongly feel, that your administration ought to seriously look into, for very serious interrogation.
We understand that the transfer of governance from one administration to a succeeding administration, in political governance, is a continuum. We also understand that the succeeding administration, usually, inherits both assets and liabilities from the government it succeeded. Deriving from above, we strongly feel, believe and understand that our case mentioned above falls into one of the liabilities that your administration inherited from the government that it succeeded.
“We noted with pride, your body language and pronouncements during your electioneering campaigns, for which we solidly invested in you with our votes. We feel great that you eventually triumphed in the gubernatorial election. We have equally witnessed from your pronouncements, as had variously been amply demonstrated, so far, that you have zero tolerance for sleaze, corruption and impunity of any hue in governance. For we are convinced that it was under the veneer of corruption and impunity that the matter, which we are tendering before you, took place under the past administrations in the state, leading to the one that you succeeded.”