The Lagos State government has reacted to claims by Orji Kalu that his Ikoyi residence was sealed by government officials after he criticized the state governor.
In a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES, the state government said it sealed the former Abia State governor’s Park View Estate home over his failure to pay the statutory annual land use charge.
The statement noted that Mr. Kalu defaulted despite three separate notices delivered to the said property.
“As a government driven by law and process, the Lagos State Government will ordinarily expect all law abiding residents to discharge their responsibilities to the state,” Aderemi Ibirogba, Commissioner for Information, said in the statement.
“If, in spite of failing to do so, Mr. Orji Uzor Kalu wants to give ethnic colouration to a routine performance of its duties by an agency of the state government, which in this case is the Land Use Charge Office, under the Ministry of Finance, he is welcome to do so,” he added.
Earlier, Emenike Ojukwu, Mr. Kalu’s aide had claimed that the sealing of the property was connected to an article written by his boss in the wake of the “deportation” of some Igbo indigenes to Onitsha by the Lagos State government.
“There’s no other reason than because Mr. Kalu told Fashola not to deport people from Lagos State. He’s not the owner of Lagos State. Lagos does not belong to him,” Mr. Ojukwu had said.
In the article titled: “Deportation: Fashola got it wrong” published in Mr. Kalu’s The Sun newspapers, the former governor criticised the Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, for the “deportation” of 67 people of Igbo extraction.
He described the “deportation” as “dehumanising and demeaning and an affront on the sensibility of all Igbos,” promising also to take the Lagos State government to court if it does not “show remorse, confess and own up to their sin and ask God for forgiveness.”
The lagos government has refuted Mr. Kalu’s claims saying “only 14 people” were relocated to Anambra State, and that it acted in consultation with the Anambra State government.
However, in its response late Tuesday, the Lagos State government insisted that Mr. Kalu’s claim that the action on his property had anything to do with the ‘deportation’ matter “could not be further from the truth.”
Mr. Ibirogba further said that the state government has, after Mr. Fashola’s intervention, directed the agency to “unseal” the property and that an additional 14 days grace period be given to Mr. Kalu to pay the said charge.
“It should be emphasised that notices like these are served on defaulting property owners on a regular basis who either comply or contact the Agency to raise any objections they might have to such notice,” said Mr. Ibirogba.
“Mr. Orji Uzor Kalu, like every other citizen, must fulfill his obligation to the State.”
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