By Lanre Oloyede
Ebonyi indigenes under the aegis of Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in Diaspora, AESID, has given the state government up to 48 hours to clear the air on the alleged sale of some property belonging to the state in Lagos state.
AESID, however threatened to drag the state government to court if it fail to speak out at the end of the ultimatum regarding the true position of the said property.
AESID had earlier issued a press statement alleging purported moves to sell-off Ebonyi’s only landed property in Lagos, South-est by some persons.
The diaspora group also condemned in strong term a reported comments credited to one Ebonyi Development Association based in Lagos defending the state government over the controversial state of the said property.
In a statement signed and made available to newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday by the AESID’s President World-wide,
Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, wondered whether the Lagos based association had attempted to carry out any form of due diligence on the said alarm raised by AESID regarding the land located opposite the Ikeja military cantonment since its members reside and do its businesses in Lagos?
“Are they also aware that quit notices were actually issued to those doing businesses in the said premises, thus heightening the suspicion that the allegation could be very true?
“To this end therefore, AESID is again issuing a fresh 48 hours ultimatum to the Ebonyi State government to officially react to the purported sale of Ebonyi landed property in Lagos and to furnish the masses with all the devils in the details which it is yet to do since our first release. Else, AESID shall be compelled to consider legal options so long as this matter is concerned.
“On the other hand, attempting to gag, hound, harass, intimidate, oppress or even arrest innocent Ebonyi citizens through the security agencies as we reliably learnt it has reported to DSS against senior citizen and journalist, Abia Onyike will not in any way hinder the bold step by AESID and other well-meaning Ebonyians to hold the Umahi-government accountable which is the key tenet of any democracy the world over. We believe in the supremacy of the Nigerian constitution and especially the empowerment of the Nigerian Mass media to at all times hold government at all levels accountable to the governed.”
AESID called on security agencies, particularly the operatives of the Directorate of State Security (DSS) and its newly-posted Director in the state to act professionally and circumspectly by not allowing itself to be used as willing tools in the hands of the state government.
“We therefore reiterate that we stand with Abia Onyike and every other citizen of Ebonyi State who may be going through any form of oppression and intimidation as a result of their cold courage to challenge the forces of evil in the present Umahi-era!”
While condemning what it described a sycophantic visit by the Lagos based association, AESID demanded to know “when did the said ‘Association’ which pride itself with an agenda of ‘development’ become the official or even unofficial spokesmen of the Governor David Umahi-led administration to begin to react to allegations of plot to sell-off Ebonyi landed property in Lagos made against the government as it has just done?
“Who or which group of persons has ever been reported as having been empowered by the so-called ‘Ebonyi Development Association’ and what has been their overall impact in adding their voices and opinions concerning issues of governance in our dear State?
“If the so-called ‘Association’ were not comprised of jobbers who have ostensibly offered themselves as willing tools in the hands of the Ebonyi state government, why did it undertake the task of image-laundering or patching for a government that boasts of multiple media and social media aides?
“Whereas we did not originally set out to even pay attention to these group of mindless ‘business men’ for whom everything including selling their future and that of generations matters little, we are constrained that if these records are not put straight and the issues which had been raised some few weeks ago without any official or unofficial response of the Umahi administration is not tackled and the airs properly cleared, Ebonyi may be heading to economic doldrums and the future of our young state could remain bleak and poor.”