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Rivers Condemns Amaechi Over ‘Abandoned Property’ Remark

The Rivers State Executive Council has accused a former Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi of trying to instigate hostility between Igbo and the people of the State following his recent comments on the legally foreclosed issue of abandoned property of non-indigenes.

Amaechi, a former Governor of Rivers, in his desperation to canvass votes for his political godson and Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Tonye Cole, had promised if his candidate emerged victorious he would return to Igbo owners their property declared abandoned by the military government immediately after the Nigerian Civil War.

But speaking in Government House, Port Harcourt after the State Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike,  the Rivers State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor, SAN, flayed the former minister’s promise.

Adangor described Amaechi’s obnoxious attempt to play politics with the hot button  issue of abandoned property that considered legally closed and could not be revisited as “distasteful.”

He said: “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 property. The matter as far as we’re concerned, is closed legally and cannot be revisited. “

The attorney-general declared that by playing toxic politics with abandoned property issue, Amaechi did not mean well for Rivers State.

He said: “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.”

The Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, emphasised 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.

He said: ” 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 gain political mileage.”

On his part, the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Chris Finebone, noted that Amaechi must apparently be suffering from  selective amnesia.

He recalled that as the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly for many years, Amaechi had  declared the matter of abandoned property closed.

He wondered why  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.

He said: “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 about the issue of abandoned property, will simply jumped 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 abandon property. That is a matter that touches on the very fabric of everyday Rivers man’s conscience.”

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