Foremost and leading civil rights advocacy group Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has commended the Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi–led government of Enugu State for its determination to ensuring that justice, equity and due process of governance is followed in carrying out its functions to protect the least people and the vulnerable ones in the society.
The praise by HURIWA is sequel to the restoration of the land, plot P/23CA located in Independence Layout Enugu, allocated to the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employee (NULGE), Enugu Chapter in 2011 in line with Allocation Reference No. LEN 29329/4 of 21st January 2011, but was purportedly revoked by the immediate past Commissioner for Lands; Mr. Victor Nnam without the governor’s approval pursuant to the Land Use Act.
HURIWA, in a press statement jointly signed by the National Coordinator; Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Media Affairs Director; Zainab Yusuf, expressed immense gratitude to Gov. Ugwuanyi for his labour friendly programmes and prompt intervention in the NULGE land matter, which would have degenerated into crisis.
HURIWA quoted the remarks of the new Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development; Nnanyelugo Chidi Aroh, who, when members of NULGE in Enugu State led by their National President; Comrade Ambali Hakeen Olatunji, trooped out in their numbers to the Government House, Enugu, on Thursday, November 18, 2021 to thank Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi disclosed that on assumption of office he was shocked to discover, after thorough investigation, that the purported revocation of the NULGE land was done without the knowledge and approval of the governor pursuant to the Land Use Act.
“Your Excellency, you will recall that a few weeks ago, the Department of State Service (DSS) knowing how much you have invested in terms of time, efforts and resources to ensure a peaceful Enugu State had alerted you of a crisis that was brewing in the State Ministry of Lands and Urban Development over the purported revocation of Plot P23CA Independence Layout, Enugu belonging to Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE).
“Your Excellency, as you were digesting this important report from a trusted partner in the security of the state, the DSS, members of the Enugu State House of Assembly after their investigation further alerted you of this crisis and the injustice that was done.
“Your Excellency, you ordered immediately a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances leading to this very big aberration in the process of your governance. After the whole investigation, it was clearly established that you (Ugwuanyi) did not even know neither was your permission and approval sought in line with the requirements of the Land Use Act before the revocation was done.
“When you called for this file on my assumption of office, we did a complete review and we discovered that even the processes of revocation were not even contained in this file which was a deliberate process to ensure that not even the staff of the Ministry of Lands and Urban Development could see this and alert you.
“So it was the fact that you didn’t have knowledge of this that allowed this matter drag to this extent. Your Excellency, in your determination to always ensure that justice, due process and the process of governance protect the least people of the state, you directed immediately that we should reverse this purported revocation.” HURIWA quoted Hon. Arohas saying.
The Rights Group went further to appreciate Gov. Ugwuanyi for his courageous spirit in restoring the land to NULGE, stating that some leaders would not take such decision because of pride.
According to the group; “Governor Ugwuanyi stands out tall to be a man who believes in justice, who believes in fairness, who believes that what is right is right and has asserted authority because the people of Enugu state have only one governor. One or ten Commissioners are not up to a governor, so, a governor is a governor and His Excellency has demonstrated that he is in charge.”
Recalling that Gov. Ugwuanyi had displayed similar support and solidarity with NULGE during the LG Autonomy rally, pointing out that such disposition was a proof that the governor believes strongly in the struggle and betterment of rural dwellers in particular and Nigeria in general, HURIWA described Gov. Ugwuanyi as “the most labour-friendly governor in Nigeria” and “the ray of hope in the South East”.
“His Excellency, Governor Ugwuanyi believes in his people, he believes in the betterment of rural dwellers, he believes in a better Nigeria and most importantly, he believes that there must be quality education, quality healthcare delivery system, good road network, potable water supply to the rural dwellers because that is the basis and pillar of governance,” HURIWA said.
On the one hand, HURIWA labelled NULGE a responsible and responsive Union for avoiding confrontation and resorting to civil approach through by reporting to the security agencies considering the current fragile security environment in the South East.
In conclusion, HURIWA called to mind that despite what appears to be a voluntary resignation, Dr. Victor Nnam; former Commissioner of Lands and Urban Development in Enugu State has been under serious criticisms from groups and individuals accusing him of being arrogant, unfriendly and corrupt among other things.
“In successive reaction to the news of his resignation, some government agencies, organised labour unions and others have criticised the former commissioner who resigned his position vide a letter dated 29th October 2021, attributing his decision to quit to the recent alleged removal of the professional heads of departments under him in a punitive ground for simply doing their jobs diligently”.
HURIWA said findings show that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi did not interfere with the administration of the Ministry of Lands but he reportedly stepped in when a groundswell of complaints against the erstwhile Commissioner became overbearing regarding allegations of corruption in land registration just as the rights group said it has found out that the current staffing at the Enugu State Ministry of Lands are made up of top notch professionals.