Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has inaugurated the Whitepaper Implementation Committee on Lands and Other Related Matters, charging members to recover all the assets gazetted in the Whitepaper as recommended.
Performing the ceremony Monday at the Government House Exco Chambers Owerri, the Governor directed the Committee not only to recover as recommended by the Whitepaper all illegally acquired Imo assets but also recommend to Government how best to put them into use the recovered assets.
Uzodimma explained that the implementation of the Whitepaper is of profound importance to the people of Imo State, as the implementation is seen as the final contract with the people upon which his administration will be judged.
He described the action, as an integral part of the Shared Prosperity Administration in Imo State, pointing out that with the implementation the 3R mantra will be further amplified.
“You must implement the recommendations to the last letter as the demands of the Whitepaper are unambiguous. This is because both Government and peoples property was illegally and fragrantly acquired by few individuals and their cronies without regard to the rule of law.”
Considering the importance attached to the Committee’s assignment, the Governor asked them to “ensure that every aspect of the Whitepaper is implemented,” noting that Imo people expect nothing less.
“The recovery of all stolen Imo wealth is nothing but what the people need.”
On why there was a delay in action, the Governor informed that there were lots of legal and court processes challenging the Whitepaper by those who are involved in the illegal acquisition.
He however pointed out that both the legal and judicial hurdles have been cleared, hence the Committee can now do its job without let or hindrance.
Regardless, the Governor warned over impunity and lawlessness against anybody or group who have genuine complaints to make to the Committee. He charged the members to be fair and firm, no matter whose ox is gored.
Reminding Nigerians of the essence of panels of inquiry and the attendant Whitepaper that follows it as well as the need to implement such outcomes, the Governor said that Whitepapers are to check excesses in both public and private service.
He reminded the audience that his determination to implement the various recommendations of the Whitepaper is to move the State forward and to ensure that the present and future Governments are governed by the rule of law.
He said in the process of achieving this, the government owes no one apologies.
In his acceptance speech, the Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie thanked the Governor on behalf of his colleagues for giving them the opportunity to serve the government and good people of Imo State in that capacity and described the opportunity as a privilege.
Prof. Awuzie said the task given to them is unique as it is the first time in Imo governance that a Governor comes out boldly to institute a Committee to implement a Whitepaper on Lands and Related Matters and described the action as a “paradigm shift in Imo State governance in particular and other governments of the federation at large.”
He pleaded that any report brought against any of their members or the entire group before the Governor be critically examined before action can be taken against them.
He assured that his Committee will not compromise honour and integrity in carrying out its job and pledged on behalf of his members, to discharge their duty and assignment to the best of their ability.
The inauguration was witnessed by Deputy Governor, Prof Placid Njoku, Secretary to Government of Imo State, Chief Cosmas Iwu, Chief of Staff, Barr Nnamdi Anyaehie, Senator Frank Ibezim representing Imo North in the Senate, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Paul Emeziem and Rt. Hon Amarachi Iwuanyanwu and other members of the Assembly as well as other top government officials.