By Special Correspondent
The way and manner the immediate past Commissioner for Lands in Imo State, Noble Atulegwu, was relieved of his duty, alongside the Special Adviser/General Manager, Imo State Housing Corporation, Barr Mbakwe Obi (Jnr) sends an ominous signal.
A government House source who spoke to our correspondent has revealed why the Governor took the decision.
The source who pleaded anonymity, said, “the sack of Noble Atulegwu and Barr Mbakwe Obi is long over due, considering their high level of official misconduct and abuse of office”.
“Atulegwu, as Commissioner for Lands, arrogated so much power and authority to himself, to the extent that, he became larger than life and refused to abide by laid down directives or take instructions from anybody”.
“There were several reports that he connived with most of the people who were affected by the government White Paper on Lands and other properties and fraudulently regularized their documents, resulting in a repeat of what happened during former Governor Okorocha’s tenure when two or three people had the same land documents”.
“He was also said to have gone to places like Okuku, Ndegwu, Oforola, etc in Owerri West L.G.A to acquire large expanse of land, in the guise that the state government wants to use them for developmental projects, only for him to parcellate such lands and allocate them to his cronies, friends and associates. Honestly, the Governor, was inundunted with reports of massive land grabbing perpetrated by Atulegwu and Mbakwe Obi Jur, without his knowledge, consent and approval”.
Responding to a question, the Government House source who was visibly taken aback by the reports, further stated that, “as a matter of fact, it was some of Atulegwu’s associates who felt that he stabbed them in the back in one way or the other that drew the attention of the Governor to some of the dirty deals he was doing and called for his immediate sack. That was why both of them were suspended. It is not yet known if they will be re-instated or sacked completely to serve as a deterrent to other corrupt government officials”.
A statement captioned, “CAVEAT EMPTOR ON INDISCRIMINATE LAND GRABBING IN IMO STATE!!! signed by the Secretary to the Government of Imo State, Chief Cosmos Iwu, reads, “The Governor of Imo State, His Excellency, Senator Hope Uzodimma has approved the immediate suspension from the office of Hon Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Physical Planning, Hon Noble Atulegwu.
His Excellency has similarly approved the immediate suspension from office of the SA/GM Imo Housing Corporation, Hon Mbakwe Obi Jnr.
Both affected officials are to hand over to the most senior officers in the respective offices”.