A peculiar war has been festering over one of the treasures of the “Heartbeat of the Nation” in the “Centre of Excellence”, as a band of angry persons of Delta State origin in Nigeria’s oil-rich South-South geopolitical zone are set to seriously battle to overcome a certain wilful Lebanese businessman and his coterie of top Nigerian Government security officials, including a Nigerian Navy (NN) Rear Admiral, providing him undue protection over the Delta State Government’s accusation of his alleged theft of its sprawling estate located in Ilasamaja, Isolo Industrial Estate, Lagos State, South-West Nigeria.
Massed under the aegis of Delta United Forum (DUF), the agitated Deltans have declared total war on all suspected squatters and other trespassers occupying any of the assets from the Delta State Government’s extensive landed property portfolio dotted across Nigeria and beyond the country’s shores.
As part of the strategy to secure their commonwealth through whatever legal means possible, DUF, which has “Unity & Progress We Stand” as its motto, has written a number of security chiefs in Lagos State separate letters to inform each of them of its members’ intention to picket the said property allegedly appropriated by the said Lebanese man.
The News Room sighted the acknowledgement copies of DUF’s notification letters addressed to the Area Commander, Area D’ Command, Lagos State Police Command, Nigeria Police Force (NPF); the State Commandant, Lagos State Command, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC); and the Lagos State Director, Department of State Services (DSS), respectively.
The three letters were commonly dated 13th December, 2022, and titled “NOTIFICATION TO CARRY OUT PICKETING AT PLOT 2, BLOCK A, ILASAMAJA INDUSTRIAL SCHEME, ISOLO, LAGOS STATE PURPORTEDLY IN POSSESSION OF THE PROPERTY BY ONE LEBANESE MAN OF IBALEX NIGERIA LIMITED”.
The letters were all signed by the DUF National Coordinator, High Chief Dr. Martin C. Enebeli, PhD, and commonly read thus: “The above caption refers.
“We the members of Delta United Forum duly registered with CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) and indigenes of Delta State wish to notify you that we will be carrying out picketing of the property at Plot 2, Block A, Ilasamaja Industrial Scheme, Isolo, Lagos State belonging to Delta State Government illegally occupied by one Lebanese man of Ibalex Nigeria Limited on a convenient date that will be communicated to you soonest.
“This is to enable us to bring enough awareness with a view of recovering the property for Delta State Government “the true representative of the Delta People” and bring the illegal occupiers to book in line with the laws of our country. We are ready to furnish you with any information you require.”
The latest moves by DUF, according to The News Room findings, follows the recent submission of a “REPORT ON THE PURPORTED SALE OF DELTA STATE GOVERNMENT PROPERTY LOCATED AT PLOT 2, BLOCK A, ILASAMAJA INDUSTRIAL SCHEME, ISOLO, LAGOS STATE” by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Arthur Obi Okafor, to the General Manager of the Delta Development and Property Authority (DDPA), Dr. Alex Olisedeme, in Asaba, the state capital.
The DDPA had earlier briefed Okafor “to ward off trespassers in respect of” the said property.
It was gathered that Ibalex Nigeria Limited, which purportedly illegally acquired the said property, allegedly, in spite of the probe findings by the DDPA’s lawyer and entreaties by the DDPA to the company, persists in illegally holding on to the sprawling complex of factory warehouses and offices.
DUF was unequivocal in serving its notice of war against the Lebanese and the Navy top shot, both men whose names the body did not disclose to The News Room.
However, DUF was most forthcoming lamenting that, contrary to the recommendations of the legal luminary that “the subject property still remains the property of Delta State Government”, and that “anyone occupying the said property is a squatter and/or a trespasser and should be removed from the property”, its independent investigations have revealed that Ibalex Nigeria Limited continues to occupy the property illegally under force of arms.
According to the DUF National Coordinator, it is particularly worrisome that Ibalex Nigeria Limited has allegedly been using armed personnel of the Nigerian Navy (NN) purportedly deployed on the orders of a certain Rear-Admiral to prevent officials of the DDPA from accessing the premises and taking possession of the subject property.
“We were shocked to learn that, in spite of committing a scandalous scam of a purported purchase of the subject property, through which it has illegally paraded itself as the proprietor -or of the complex for about a decade and half, Ibalex Nigeria Limited, against proper and decent corporate ethos, and the laws of natural justice, has continued to deny the rightful property owner, Delta State, of the rights,” Enebeli said.
He went on: “We are aware, and quite proud of the fact, that Nigeria and her citizens readily offer a welcoming climate to all nationals from across the globe, even when certain foreigners routinely abuse the warm hospitality of Nigeria and Nigerians in the country.
“The truth is bitter, but must always be broached for the sake of real progress. Therefore, we sincerely wish to get at the truth in this matter with this poser: ‘Has Nigeria descended to the level of a banana republic in which anything goes?’ ”
The DUF chieftain is unequivocal that everything is certainly going on wrong in a matter, in which, according to him, the Lebanese helmsman of Ibalex Nigeria Limited, apart from having a Naval top brass friend allegedly intercede illegally in his company’s favour, has also purportedly been deploying operatives of the NPF and the DSS to hound officials of the DDPA and those of other ministerial departments and agencies of the Delta State Government engaged in concerted efforts to retrieve the subject property.
Enebeli queried: “In which other country in the world is it done that a foreigner, or even a national for that matter, covets and illegally acquires property belonging to any tier of government and illegally recruits the services of armed state officials to prevent the retrieval of the stolen estate?”
He described as reprehensible, that, against the backdrop of Nigeria’s lingering multifaceted security challenges, a two-star Navy General is clearly comfortable with facilitating, in exchange for filthy lucre, the illegal deployment of armed Naval personnel, who have physically and verbally abused and chased away Delta State Government officials attempting to enter the subject property, threatening to shoot them if they did not the gates fast enough.
Patriotic Deltans, according to him, are poised to contribute their collective quota to ensuring that Delta State Government’s rich portfolio of landed property across Nigeria and outside her shores are duly audited and accounted for.
“We are encouraged on this course, bearing in mind that it is a worthy cause in honour of the founders of Delta State, and, indeed, her citizens, living and dead, and generations unborn,” Enebeli said.
He added: “We are very impressed with the conscientious work of our State Government on the matter of securing the landed property, notably as enunciated by the Okafor probe report. We fully align with the unrelenting efforts by the State Government to recover the subject property by all legal means. DUF has also initiated moves for a comprehensive audit to identify and account for every single property owned by Delta State anywhere in and outside Nigeria.”
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