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ALI BABA AND HIS 27 THIEVES IN IMO STATE (part one)

Ali Baba is a character from medieval Arabic literature. He is described in the adventure tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. This story has been used as a popular story pantomime plot such as in the pantomime/musical Chu Chin Chow(1916) Popular perception of Ali Baba, and the way he is treated in the media shows that he became the leader of the "forty thieves.

Ali Baba, a woodcutter was in the forest when he saw forty thieves stop in front of a cave. The leader said “Open Sesame!” and before Ali Baba's amazed eyes the sealed mouth of the cave magically opened and the men disappeared inside. To come out and close the entrance, the leader said “Close Sesame” and the cave sealed itself once more. Trembling with excitement Ali Baba waited till the thieves had left and then entered the cave after saying the magic words. To his delight he found lots of treasure and took some away .He later became the leader of the "forty thieves.

In Imo State of Nigeria we have Ali-Baba and the 27 thieves. The Governor of Imo State Chief Rochas Okorocha is Ali Baba himself while Chief Benjamin Uwajumogu the Speaker of the Imo House of Assembly and his dishonorable Imo House of Assembly members of course are the 27 thieves. I am bold to call them Ali Baba and the 27 thieves .The road projects and what is happening in the 27 LGA's of Imo State come to mind as two of the several examples of their colossal looting of the Imo treasury. I am talking about the looting of the 13 percent oil derivation fund of Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta ,the looting of the 27 LGA funds in Imo State and the looting of 400 million naira flood money of Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta flood victims .

Imo people have no joy in their hearts over what is currently going on in the state. The economic well-being of the vast majority of the working Imo masses under Governor Okorocha is very worrisome. Imo has received billions of naira as revenue allocations from FG. Sadly to note however, the intrinsically greedy capitalist governor of Imo State and his 27 thieves have practically ensured that none of the funds being sent by FG for the 27 LGA's of Imo State and none of the 13 percent oil derivation funds are committed to the development of the Imo economy and the living standard of the grass root people of the state but have looted the funds with fanfare and impunity.

A huge con game is taking place in the 27 LGA's of Imo state. Ndi-Imo must talk now.Let us call a spade a spade. The quantity and quality of life for the vast majority of Imo people in the grassroots of the state vis-à-vis the basic means of living have drastically plummeted.I am asking Ali Baba and his gang: where are the local roads, health care centres, modern schools and markets for the various LGA's in Imo state? Where are the projects for development in the grass root of the state? Where are the billions of naira for Imo LGA's? Where are the billions of naira for Imo oil producing areas? Why is Ali Baba looting Imo dry?

Imolites want to know what happened to the forty five billion naira loan they took from Zenith bank plc. Imo people are burning with anger. The said sum was actually borrowed using the Imo Local Government Statutory allocation as collateral for a three year tenure. They should tell us what happened to the twenty eight billion naira loan they also took from Diamond bank PLC with Imo Local Government Statutory allocation as collateral for a three year tenure.

It is to our collective knowledge that for almost 3 years now a large chunk of the allocations meant for the 27 Local Government of Imo State from the Federal Account are being deducted at source by Zenith Bank Plc and Diamond bank Plc in repayment of the aforesaid jumbo loan grant.It is also too bad to note that the thieving Imo State House of Assembly led by Chief Benjamin Uwajumogu is part of the policies which have worsened the prevailing plight of the Imo masses. It is on record that the high catalogue of withdrawals, misappropriation, disregard to public procurement rules, happen with the consent of the Imo Speaker Uwajumogu and the Accountant General of Imo State. They both connived with Ali Baba , aided and abetted gross financial impropriety in Imo state. It is also on record that Chief Uwajumogu and his house members endorsed the illegal sack of 10,000 Imo Sons and daughters in the State Civil Service.

Governor Okorocha and Chief Uwajumogu should explain to Ndi-Imo why the whopping sums of money they obtained as loans on behalf of Imo State Local Government areas have disappeared into thin air. Chief Uwajumogu should also explain to Ndi-Imo why he unilaterally awarded contracts without tender or any iota of due process .Is it not because of compromising the state legislature in its constitutional oversight functions that Okorocha made the leadership of the Imo house of assembly to became a contract awarding agency of the Imo state government?

Ndi-Imo wants to know what happened to the one hundred and thirty five billion naira received as statutory allocation of Imo State 27 Local Government Areas from the federation account from June 2011 to August 2013. Ndi-Imo wants to know how Adapalm Ltd was leased to Roche group for 3.5 billion naira which Roche group did not pay a kobo for it Instead Imolites were informed that Roche is to use the proceeds from leasing Adapalm to erect 305 primary school classroom blocks in the 305 electoral wards in the state. Where are the 305 primary school classroom blocks in the 305 electoral wards? It must be noted that till date no such buildings have been constructed by Roche group.

Ndi-Imo wants to know Who owns Roche Group. Ndi-Imo wants to know why Okorocha and his partner in crime Chief Uwajumogu have refused to allow elected council chairmen to be in charge of our LGA's and have been looting the L.G.A's in Imo State with Sole Administrators for almost 3 years now. The effect of this is that there are no single development going on in the 27 LGA's of the state. Lack of basic amenities has made these LGA's a ghost environment. No portable drinking water, no good and long lasting roads, schools (Primary and Secondary) are in deplorable and dilapidated condition. No cottage industry, no agricultural development. Local government staff are not paid their salaries as at when due. Yet huge allocations are sent to these local government areas by the federal ministry of finance (Federal Account Allocation Committee)

We say No to looting of the Imo LGA's. We say No to looting of the oil producing area 13 percent derivation funds in Imo State. We say No to continued refusal to reinstate the 10,000 sacked civil servants in Imo. We want to know what happened to the FG 400 million naira flood money for Imo flood victims. We say No to Ali-Baba and his 27 thieves. Save Us Oh God.

-KENNETH UWADI, MMAHU-EGBEMA,IMO STATE, NIGERIA

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Articles by Kenneth Uwadi