Avoid playing politics with abandoned property issue, Rivers govt tells Amaechi

Amaechi Okonkwo

The Rivers State Government has warned former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi to desist from playing politics with the thorny issue of “abandoned property” in the state.

The warning came from the State Executive Council which described as unconscionable the attempt by the former state governor, Amaechi to instigate hostility between Igbos and the people of Rivers State over the issue that has been legally foreclosed.

Amaechi, in a recent outing where he was campaigning for the APC governorship candidate, among the Igbo residents of Rivers state promised the Igbos that if they voted for his crony, Cole to emerge, governor, the state would return to Igbo owners their property declared abandoned by the military government immediately after the Nigerian Civil War.

But addressing journalists in Government House, Port Harcourt after the State Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Nyesom Wike, the Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor, SAN, described Amaechi’s promise as an obnoxious attempt to play politics with the hot button issue.

The Attorney General affirmed that issue of abandoned property in Rivers State has been legally closed and cannot be revisited even as he described Amaechi’s promise as “distasteful.”

He said, “the issue of abandoned property in Rivers State, is essentially and palpably one of law.

“You will recall that the Abandoned Property Edit No. 8 of 1969 established the Abandoned Property Custody and Management Authority and charged that authority and the responsibility of managing the property of non-indigene left unattended during the Civil War.

“The constitutionality of that law has been tested in several decisions of our court, including that of the Supreme Court and that law is still a subsisting law, and it has never been invalidated by any judgment of the court.”

“It is therefore palpably injurious if not completely misleading for anybody to seek to politicise the issue of abandoned poverty. The matter as far as we’re concerned is closed legally close and cannot be revisited. ”

The Attorney General, therefore declared that by playing toxic politics with abandoned property issues, Amaechi does not mean well for Rivers State and it’s quite unfortunate.

“And we have to condemn it in its entirety. It is distasteful, It is unbecoming of a leader and every right-thinking member of this society must condemn it.”

Similarly, the Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, emphasized that the State Executive Council in very strong terms condemned Amaechi’s recklessness in trying to reawaken the ghosts of the abandoned property issue in Rivers State.

“I’m sure everybody, all of us, we know that that matter has long been buried, and it is no longer practical or feasible to reawaken it. It beats every reasonable imagination why anybody would want to carry politics that far.

“We are urging every Rivers man or woman and our Igbo brothers who have lived here peacefully with us to discountenance that misguided utterance which we all know was said or made, just to as it were again political mileage.”

On his part, the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Chris Finebone, noted that Amaechi must be suffering from selective amnesia because as the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly several years ago, he had declared the matter of abandoned property closed.

He said it beats the imagination same the same Amaechi would today turn around to promise to revisit the issue of abandoned property just for political reasons, with the intent to deceive Igbo leaders just to garner illusive votes for Tonye Cole.

“This is what has appalled people across, not just Rivers State today, but across even Bayelsa. We have received calls from everywhere condemning this kind of rascality, and then it beats the imagination that somebody who probably did not have any grasp on the issue of abandoned property, will simply jump into the political arena and want to harvest from it by offering people what is even beyond him, what he cannot offer, talk less of somebody he is bringing in to offer.

“So, we are condemning this. We are joining other well-meaning Rivers people to condemn this kind of rascality and to warn the former governor (Amaechi) to steer clear from deceiving people. He has no power whatsoever to revisit the issue of abandoned property. That is a matter that touches on the very fabric of everyday Rivers man’s conscience”, Finebone stated.



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