ENUGU, Nigeria – A rights group, Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN), has dragged a former commissioner for lands and urban development in Enugu State, Deacon Okey Ogbodo to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC.
The group is asking the commission to investigate Ogbodo over his alleged involvement in questionable land deals.
It addressed a petition to the ICPC accusing the former commissioner of using his former position to defraud victims even after leaving office.
The petition is entitled: “Appeal for urgent and thorough investigation on continuous fraudulent land allocations by Deacon Okey Ogbodo, a former Commissioner for Lands Enugu State, 2003-2007, even after leaving public office.”
It read thus: “we write to you in respect of the above mentioned matter and seek a thorough investigation of the matter.
“We got information alleging that Deacon Okey A. Ogbodo, the former commissioner for Lands and Urban Development, Enugu State (2003-2007), while leaving office made away with several ‘Land Allocations papers’ of plots of land belonging to the state government in different areas of the State.
“He perfected this plan by making allocations of plots of lands in Enugu City in fictitious names and that of his cronies and took away those allocations while leaving office.
“Thereafter, the former Commissioner is reported to be selling those land allocations to unsuspecting citizens.
“These fraudulent acts came to limelight when those persons he sold those allocations to started bringing the Allocation papers to the Land Registry to register the lands and obtain Certificate of Occupancy (Cof Os) in respect thereof.
“In furtherance of our investigation in respect of the alleged fraud, our organization made an application to the incumbent Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development Enugu State, pursuant to the ‘Freedom of information Act FOIA 2011’ requesting for records in respect of all recent applications for Certificate of Occupancy in respect of suspicious land allocations made by the former Commissioner.”
It added that in response to the Application made to the Commissioner for Lands pursuant to the FOI Act, “the Honorable Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development replied via a letter dated 2nd November 2020.”
It disclosed that the serving land Commissioner confirmed that some land allocation documents in connection to “our complaints originated from the ministry, while the authenticity of some other Allocation Letters emanating from the former commissioner could not be ascertained.
“You will agree with us that it is fraudulent and very wrong for the former Commissioner to continue selling public lands and making land allocation documents from his parlor after years of leaving office.
“We condemn this fraudulent act in an unequivocal term and urge the Commission to thoroughly investigate this matter and if the culprit is found culpable, he should be made to face the full wrath of the law so as to serve as deterrent to others.”
When contacted for his reaction, Ogbodo said: “My attention has not been drawn to any petition yet.
“I have not seen it, so I can’t react to that until I see the petition. But what is wrong in using fictitious name to acquire land?”