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Group urges Elechi to reverse decision Nigercem's land

By The Citizen

A group known as Concerned Citizens of Ebonyi State has called on Ebonyi state governor, Martins Elechi to reverse the state's purported revocation of the Certificate of Occupancy of the land area of Nigercem, describing the action of the state government as despotic, dangerous, reckless and an abuse of state power.

In a press statement signed by it Group's president, Mr Elechi Ikeburu, it warned that the state risks been labeled unfriendly to investors. 'We have followed with keen interest the actions of the Ebonyi State Governor, Martin Elechi as it relates to Nigercem. The revocation of Certificate of Occupancy of the land area known as Nigercem, the subsequent prevention of Ibeto Group from taking over the company, thus stalling its bid to revive and transform the company into a modern cement plant, and most recently the dethronement of traditional rulers who dared to go against government's  position by welcoming Ibeto's takeover of Nigercem portends grave danger to freedom to hold contrary views freedom of expression.

The Group also expressed shock  and disdain at the role being played by Ebonyi State  representatives in the National Assembly 'We have also observed with shock and disdain the advertorial placed in some national newspapers by member of the national assembly from Ebonyi State, encouraging the State government in what appears to be his despotic tendencies. The law makers who signed the advertorial under reference; Senator Chris Nwankwo, Paulinus Igwe Nwagu and Sunny Ogbuoji, the Rep members are Peter Oge Alloi, Linus Aba Okore, Tobias Okwuru, Sylvester Ogbaga and Christopher Omo Isu.

That advertorial was not only embarrassing, it was a shame on the offices they occupy. The language they used such as re-colonization and exploitation of Ebonyi natural resources was not only unfortunate, but it speaks volume of their own character. The concerned citizens of Ebonyi State are appalled by the current needless actions of the State Government against an investor who to all intent and purposes is trying to bring investment to the state, which has been ranked as one of the poorest in the South-East and  in the country.'

According to the Group, 'the question on the lips of every sane on looker is in whose interest is the closure of Nigercem serving? Is revocation of the C of O the right approach to resolving whatever grey areas the government may have with the investor? Why is the government unable to tolerate criticism of its action? Can the state government truly and sincerely turnaround Nigercem on its own? Where will it get the resources from? When it is rated by debt management office as  insolvent state whose debt profile of 40billion naira currently threatens its very survival. Does it not make clear business sense for the state government to do all it can to encourage and support Ibeto Group in its quest to revive Nigercem? The chain economic effect of a functional Nigercem are too numerous to state here amongst which are, employment for indigenes, skilled and un-skilled, increase revenue base for the state government, general improved standard of living and ancillary benefits such as emergence of subsidiary companies that will vastly improve the environment and by extension the state.

Nigercem has been closed down for too long; the state government must do all it can to remove obstacles from the path of the investor instead of playing a narrow ethnic politics and carrying on with a medieval mentality of our Ebonyi resources.'

Ikeburu  advised the State governor to sit down with Ibeto group to resolve areas of concern and work amicably to resolving those concerns instead of deploying strong arm tactics that will lead to no where 'We therefore call on the State Government to urgently reverse itself by restoring the C of O on the land Nigercem is located.

The government should sit down with the Ibeto Group and resolve whatever concerns it may be nursing against its takeover of Nigercem with a view to addressing those concerns,' he added.