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Land Grabbing: Group Drags Ex-Enugu Commissioner To ICPC

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(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A human rights organization, under the platform of “Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN), has dragged a former commissioner for lands and Urban Development in Enugu state, Deacon Okey Ogbodo, before the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission ICPC, over his  alleged involvement in land scandal.

A petition signed by president of the organization, Barrister Olu Omotayo, addressed to Chairman of ICPC in Abuja, and made available to African Examiner in Enugu Monday, accused the Ex-commissioner of using his former position to allegedly defraud the victims even after leaving office.

It, however, urged the anti-corruption body to carry out a thorough investigation on the matter.

The petition is titled: “Appeal for Urgent and thorough investigation on continuous fraudulent land allocations by Deacon Okey Ogbodo, a former commissioner for Lands Enugu State, 2003-2007, Even after leaving public office.

 It reads thus: “We write to you in respect of the above-mentioned matter and seek a thorough investigation of the matter.

“We got information alleging that Deacon Okey A. Ogbodo, the Former Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development, Enugu State(2003-2007), while leaving office made away with several ‘Land Allocations papers” of plots of land belonging to the state government in different areas of the state.

“He perfected this plan by making allocations of plots of lands in Enugu City in fictitious names and that of his cronies and took away those allocations while leaving office.

“Thereafter, the former commissioner is reported to be selling those lands allocations to unsuspecting citizens.

According to the CRRAN, “these fraudulent acts came to limelight when those persons he sold those allocations to started bringing the Allocation papers to the Land Registry to register the lands and obtain Certificate of Occupancy (Cof Os) in respect thereof.

“In furtherance of our investigation in respect of the alleged fraud, our organization made an application to the incumbent Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development Enugu State, pursuant to the “Freedom of information Act FOIA 2011” requesting for records in respect of all recent applications for Certificate of Occupancy in respect of suspicious land allocations made by the former Commissioner.

The Rights group stated that “The said Application is attached herewith as “Document A”

It added that in response to the Application made to the Commissioner for Lands pursuant to the FOI Act, “the Honorable Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development replied vide a letter dated 2nd November 2020.

It disclosed that the Serving land Commissioner confirmed  that some land allocation documents in connection to “our complaints originated from the ministry, while the authenticity of some other Allocation Letters emanating from the former commissioner could not be ascertained.

“The response from the Ministry of lands is attached herewith as “Document 2”.

“You will agree with us that it is fraudulent and very wrong for the former Commissioner to continue selling public lands and making land allocation documents from his parlor after years of leaving office.

“We condemn this fraudulent act in an unequivocal term and urged the Commission to thoroughly investigate this matter and if the culprit is found culpable, he should be made to face the full wrath of the law so as to serve as deterrent to others.

When contacted for his reaction, Ogbodo said: “My attention have not been drawn to any petition yet.

“I have not seen it, so, I can’t react to that until I see the petition. But what is wrong in using fictitious name to acquire a land”, he asked.

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