FG did not approve concession of Enugu Museum land – Prince Ozobu


FG did not approve concession of Enugu Museum land – Prince Ozobu

Enugu born Social Crusader Prince Richard Ozobu has waded into the controversies surrounding the alleged concession and parcellation of the land belonging to the National Unity Museum, Enugu.
Ozobu who narrated his efforts to ascertain the true position of the federal government on the matter said he found that those laying claim to the land on guise of concession were merely after their personal gain and on a land grabbing mission.

Addressing newsmen in Enugu he said, “My attention was drawn to the attitude of sole people who recently invaded the Enugu Museum Land under the false guide that the Federal Government gave it to them on concession.

“I, a senior citizen, Social Crusader, as well as anti- corruption critic, an interested party, and as Former Member of Board of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments , of Federal Republic of Nigeria, through my counsel Sir OAU Onyema sort for clarification from the Attorney General of the Federation who incidentally is a principal member of the Board of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) who should be in the know of any Concession of such, and we discovered that his hands weren’t in it.

“The Hon Attorney General of the Federation in his reply to my Pre-action notice (Marked, ‘Without Prejudice’) dated 11th day of January, 2023 with ref : MJ/LIT/ABJ/ICRC/03/2023 subsequently directed the Managing Director of ICRC to furnish me the details of their knowledge of the transaction.

“Consequently, the Director General of ICRC wrote me in à letter and forwarded to me, all that they know about the transaction, wherein they equally Annex an outline of Business Case compliance certificate addressed to National Commission for Museums and Monuments .

“To my greatest surprise, there was nothing like any Concession Agreement, or any document of agreement for PRIVATE PUBLIC PATNERSHIP, to ensure that what is about to be done, will be well regulated in the best interest of the system.

“The ICRC packaged all that they know about the transaction and sent it to me through my Lawyer.

In the said package, was the bulky unsolicited proposal written by Avaco Construction Nig Ltd to ICRC, for Construction of certain projects at Museum Enugu; and a letter written by ICRC to the DG, National Museum and Monuments called BUSINESS CASE COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATE.

“There is no such thing as agreement with the Federal Government over the land, and there was no evidence of Concession fee whatsoever. Besides, the law on concession talks about viable Project and not Land of agencies of government. But, in the instant case the intruders are already parcellating the land for sale.

“These museum land which they are attempting to appropriate by force, are what we planned and reserved for future museum expansion. They have appropriated Zoo land and till date there is no one created anywhere for our children ; and another bunch of people have come after the Enugu Museum Land. We can’t continue this way, land abound at the out-sketch of the city calling for city expansion, yet they will not go for such that will actually contribute in developing the State. They only lazily go after bastardization for futuristic arrangements made for those yet unborn. That is unacceptable.

“Indeed, I sued to stop abnormally. We cannot all fold our hand at the full glare of what is wrong. Hence, I called you people the press, to tell you my case, and what I am claiming from the court. As you may know, I went to court on a public interest suit, precisely at Federal High Court Enugu in Suit No: FHC/CS/EN/ 21/ 2023

“I represents the interest of some aggrieved And concerned Citizens of Enugu State, in this issue of appropriation of Enugu Museum Land, and I have my address as No. 19 Ezilo Street, Independence Layout, Enugu, Enugu State Nigeria.

“When I was inundated with phone calls and visits from concerned Citizens of Enugu State about the surreptitious plan to appropriate the Enugu Museum land by one AVACO CONSTRUCTION COMPANY NIG LTD, I reached out to the DG of Museums personally, but out of arrogance and ignorance of the position of things, he did not allow himself to make any reasoning out of my complaint.

“I informed him that the Enugu Museum Land has been preserved for Generational advancement of the Enugu Museum; and that he should not attempt to sell it, but he wouldn’t listen.

“I then briefed Chief Sir OAU Onyema of OAU Onyema & Co, Akpaagu law House of No. 87 Upper Presidential Road, Independence Layout Enugu, to issue the need Statutory Pre- Action Notices to All those concerned in the exercise which was shrouded in secrecy, because of the clandestine Motive.

“It was later discovered that AVACO CONSTRUCTION NIG LTD ( the 6th defendant in the suit) who claim to be the major beneficiary of the unwholesome exercise does not have any physical address on ground till date, where they can be located, against the provisions of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). We went to the address he wrote on his sign post on two occasions, and could not see any sign of him. The Chief Bailiff of the Federal High court equally experienced this.

“Those that were sued as defendants in this matter are: 1. National Commission for Museums and Monuments (As represented by the Director General, Chairman Governing Board,and Curator, Enugu Museum) 2. Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC)
(As represented by the Director General,
and Chairman, Governing Board, ICRC)
3. Prof. Abba Isa Tijani
4. Mr Duru Aloysius
5. Mr Michael Ohiani
6. Avaco Construction & Logistics Ltd
(As represented by the Managing Director / CEO)
17. They have all been served the court processes except the Curator Museum Enugu, and the Managing Director of Avaco Construction Nig Ltd, who have been dogging the Court bailiff. Same will be reported to the court accordingly.

“My PRE-ACTION NOTICE, simply REQUESTED FOR CLARIFICATION ON ALLEGED AND SPECULATED ILLEGAL APPROPRIATION OF MUSEUM LAND, ENUGU, CAMOUFLAGED WITH A DECOY PROJECT, yet I was not given any satisfactory answer; instead the 1st, 3rd and 4th defendant smartly evaded divulging the needed information to me- the plaintiff.

“In their reply to my pre-action Notice, the 1st defendant was rather asking me
to pay them the sum of two hundred thousand naira only (N200,000) for any
document I want, without being specific whether the money is for the documents clearly demanded by me or not.

“That the 1st , 3rd and 4th defendants outlined in paragraph 16 above, did not also
provide any account where the said N200,000 will be paid into, hence tactically evaded providing the information legitimately sought for by me, hence culminating in this suit. Copy of the letter dated 21st December, 2022 with Ref: LS / VOL. 1/ 002 from the 1st defendant my counsel- Sir Onyema, is available.

“Till date, the defendants have refused to furnish me the information I needed about the questionable transaction, against the provisions of the Freedom of information Act 2015. I maintain that the defendants are illegally planning to alienate the landed property belonging to the Museum (1st defendant), at Ogui junction Enugu,
Enugu State, completely against the law on Museum Land / Property and International treaty, in that regard.

“I maintain that the transaction configured by the defendants was to favour themselves particularly 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th defendants and their cronies. It is illicit in nature, meant to enrich themselves, and not in the interest of the Enugu Museum under the direct control of the 1st defendant, the Public or the society.

“I also state that the transaction is camouflaged with the unsubstantiated projects listed vis: – Cultural Garden, Storage & Workshop, Craft Village, Museum Kitchen, Event Hall, Museum Kitchen, Event Hall, Audio Visual & Photo Workshop, Lecture Theater and MUSEUM Guest House.
“Much as the enumerated projects sounds and seems good; the information available to us , is that they are rather a TROJAN GIFT, which is unspecific and unstandardized, compared to the Museum land worth billions, the project is serving as the decoy, to deceive the people, for its illegal appropriation by the conspiracy of the 3rd – 6 the defendants.

“The defendants are challenged to produce the Bill of quantities (if any) for the construction of the projects mentioned, to prove that indeed, there is an intention to truly create them. We have not seen any Bill of quantity for the proposed projects below:
a. Cultural Garden,
b. Storage & Workshop,
c. Craft Village,
d. Museum Kitchen,
e. Event Hall,
f. Museum Kitchen,
g. Event Hall,
h. Audio Visual & Photo Workshop,
i. Lecture Theater and
j. MUSEUM Guest House.

“There is no single consultant to our knowledge appointed to supervise, account and ensure that the projects mentioned above will truly be constructed. The defendants are challenged to produce the Documents of the appointment of such consultant; inclusive of his terms and conditions, and evidence of regularity of his appointment. See their Sign- Board advertising the purported project, pleaded above.

“The only interest of the 3rd , 4th, 5th, and 6th defendants is to clandestinely appropriate, and alienate the Museum – being the 1st defendant’s Land at Ogui junction, Enugu, and make money for themselves, against the interest of the Museum (1st defendant) and the posterity.

“Consequently, they have parcellated the Museum Land at Ogui Junction Enugu into Plot Sizes, named it M.O.K. Museum Estate, and at another place named it or Zoo Estate Phase 2, with intendment to sell it to themselves and their cronies, and enrich themselves, even without constructing any signs of the projects they promised as TROJAN GIFT as contained in paragraphs 14 above; completely against public interest. Copy of the Survey Plan of the said MOK Museum Estate (being the 1st defendant’s land) as drawn by the defendants, for easy
alienation was pleaded in court.

“That going by the conspiracy of the 3rd , 4th, 5th, and 6th defendants, while
cloaking themselves under the canopy of the 1st and 2nd defendants, the government / public land of the Enugu Museum (1st defendant) will be alienated by the conspiracy of the 3rd , 4th, 5th, and 6th defendants to solely enrich themselves, without considering the welfare of the people or even the staff of the organization, and also without constructing what they promise to construct, all against public interest.

“We have it on good authority that the money said to have been paid by the concessionee (the 6th defendant) for the purpose of harnessing the Land of  Enugu Museum at Ogui Road measuring almost 10 hectares, was not paid. The defendants are challenged to produce (if they exist) the REMITAL GENERATED-CODES, and RECEIPTS for the payment into the Federal Government TREASURY SINGLE ACCOUNT (TRS) to show that the public was paid, commensurately. Till date they are still running around.

“The 3rd , 4th , 5th , and 6th defendants does not have the interest of the 1st and 2nd defendants at heart, against general public interest, in the configuration of this transaction, hence shrouding everything under it in secrecy, without any element of transparency or due process. The defendants are challenged to produce before this court, the DOCUMENTS OF CONCESSION executed by the parties, wherein the Landed –property of the Enugu Museum at Ogui junction, was concessioned to the 6th defendant for the said 25 years and renewable as they speculated.

“That the action of the 1st , 3rd and 4th defendants in the transaction in issue, is
ultra-vires, as they did not have the public interest at heart, in conceding or authorizing the alienation of the 1st defendant land (Museum Land) at Ogui Junction Enugu, without proper documentation, and agreement to protect both the organization and the public, against the provisions of National Commission for Museums and Monuments Act 2004.

“I, in the most respectful and polite manner demanded in my Pre-action Notice to the defendants, as an interested party, and with regards to Freedom of Information Act, copies of the following at my cost, yet these documents were tactically denied: i. Any Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that brought about this project. ii. Copies of the Award letters regarding the natures, particulars and specifications of these projects to be undertaken by AVACO CONSTRUCTION & LOGISTICS LTD (6th defendant), as they displayed. iii. Any document showing who will fund these projects, and the consideration for such financial investment.

iv. Evidence of ownership and management of the projects after construction. v. If it is a Federal Government project, – evidence of such, and where it was captured in the budget. vi. A specific answer to us, specifying whether any portion of the museum land, Enugu will be alienated or conceded under any guise, in respect of these projects, and to whom.

“When the 1st , 3rd and 4th defendants remained recalcitrant in acceding to my request, I got my counsel (Chief Sir OAU Onyema) to issue pre-action Notices on this subject matter, with Ref: OAU/AKP.CH/2022/VOL.A/00105 dated 14th December, 2022 to the Chairman of Governing Board and Members of the Infrastructure, Concession, Regulatory Commission (ICRC) being the 5th defendant, as well as his members being The Attorney General of the Federation, Governor of Central Bank, Secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria, and Honorable Minister of Finance. Copies of the Pre-action Notice with Ref: OAU/AKP.CH/2022/VOL.A/00105 dated 14th December, 2022 are available. Till date outside the DG of ICRC, and DG Museum, I have not seen any member of their Boards that is already aware of the transaction.

“My people, unless and until this court intervenes to get thing straight, the ill  conduct of the defendants will lead to a gross shortchanging of the public.

” These people have already started advertising the Enugu Museum land for sales in the internet, and several Estate WhatsApp Groups, for the sum of N100,000,000 for 1,000Square Meters for individuals who wants to buy and build their residential houses; even when no single move has been made about the Projects mentioned that they will build for Museum and manage. Into whose pocket will these hundreds of Millions be paid into, and as what. This is pure daylight robbery to the system and to the general public.

“The appropriation of the Enugu Museum land as they are doing is irregular, unconscionable, criminal, unwholesome, an exploitation of public property, hence liable to be revoked by the Court.
38. Surely, we are bring-up petition to the Inspector General of Police for a thorough investigation of the criminal aspect of the claim of Avaco Construction Nig. Ltd that he was given the land on concession, by who , how, and with which Federal Executive Council’s approval.

“I am aware that concession is only for viable projects and not for land, so everywhere these land grabbers have acquired state or federal government land in the name that it was conceded to them is a fallacy. A simply mischief to confuse and hoodwinked the unsuspecting public. We will make sure we cancel all of such.

“With our Pre-Action Notices, warned all concerned particularly the said AVACO CONSTRUCTION & LOGISTICS LTD to stay action in entering the land but he wouldn’t listen. He choose to be spending his money- probably it wasn’t hard earned.

They cannot deceive the society with trojan gifts, which the actual intention to steal and sell land belonging to our Enugu Museum. They are hurriedly destroying all MUSEUM buildings except one main complex, so as to claim expansive land. Go there and see costly beautiful artifacts littered everywhere along the museum road under the harsh weather, because some desperate fellows wanted to grab land.

“If you see those exposed and littered artifacts, you will shed tears for this  wicked generation. Fly on the air, you will see bushes and forests everywhere; but these elements will not think of developing the nation or expanding the city. Their only thought is on how to grab and appropriate reserved areas meant for specific future developmental purposes. If those before them had done that way, will this city accommodate them now? What a useless desperation.

“What they are doing is totally wrong, lawless and not backed by any law. Their claims are watery, and cannot be substantiated in any manner of genuine at all. We will also invoke the attention of the President and Commander in
Chief of Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to this. He appointed me at one time to see to the goods of the Museums, and I cannot in my lifetime witness brazen bastardization of our genuine and created future plans for Museums.

“What they are doing has been reported to the court as being against the Provisions of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment ) Act no. 18 of 2005 as amended 2018, and the ICRC- Public Private Partnership Regulations, 2014, as well as the Public Private Partnership(PPP) Guidelines and Processes, for concession.

“The main principle and intendment of Concession, as construed by the enabling Act, is to finance, Build / construct, modify, operate, make viable and profitable, and reap profit therein by the concessionaire; and later transfer back to the organization after a certain period, hence generating funds from concessionaire’s input; and not to acquire authority for Leasing or alienating undeveloped portions of land of the agency to enrich private pockets.

“How much have these people paid into the Federal Government TREASURY, to be authorized to sell our Museum land and pocket the proceeds. This is pure corruption, and an anti-corruption agency will be brought in to investigate this. They should just get ready to answer; wherever we call them. They should not worry, if their hands are clean.

“Hence, in their acts henceforth, they should know that they cannot cut corner as planned, what is going on at Enugu Museum Land now, must be scrutinized. They must be genuine, to build all those Projects; and it is from that they can make their profit. THEY CANNOT SELL A SINGLE LAND, they have no such powers. Anyone BUYING is doing so at his own
peril.

“While we are in court with these people to dispense with the CIVIL aspect of
our claim, all CRIMINAL CONNOTATIONS in the transaction will be addressed accordingly. Our intelligence is that they had been struggling since our Pre-action Notice to fire and back-date REMITA CODE and concoct documents. We are waiting to see such a document, so that we hand it over to the Police for investigation and scrutiny, and anyone whose hand is in such forgery, will go in for it.

“Let me ask you the Press, gentlemen, Is the Land of National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Enugu and infrastructure? I advise them to refer to Part 1, Sec 1 (1) (2) and 2 (1) of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment ) Act no. 18 of 2005 as amended 2018, for them to understand what an infrastructure that can be  concessioned should be. I was shouting that the purported concession of Land of Enugu Museum, or part thereof, by these people, is ILLEGAL, NULL AND VOID, AND OF NO EFFECT; as only Projects may be qualified for Concession, and not Land. But, there is not agreement of Concession at all. Mere approval of a proposal for evaluation by the ICRC is not concession.

“That to my knowledge, there is no Federal Executive Council’s approval to the projects mentioned under this concession contrary to the provisions of Part 1, Sec 2 (2) of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment ) Act no. 18 of 2005 as amended 2018, hence the Concession. ( if any) is ILLEGAL, NULL AND VOID, AND OF NO EFFECT; as only
Projects may be qualified for Concession. These and many more we are praying for the Court to determine in our favour.

“We labored to build and maintain Standard of the Enugu Museum as it is today, on the authority of the then President and Commander in Chief of armed Forces of Federal Republic of Nigeria, as a former Board member, and will like this Temple of justice to adjudicate on this, and make the necessary declarations and orders to remedy the situation, in the interest of justice for all.

“Based on the foregoing, What I am claiming against these people ( the defendants) in my suit at Federal High Court are as follows;-
i. A declaration of this hounourable court to the effect that the modus operandi of concessioning the Landed Property of the 1st defendant by the actions of the 2nd – 6 the defendants is against the Provisions of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment ) Act no. 18 of 2005 as amended 2018, and the ICRC- Public Private Partnership Regulations, 2014, as well as the Public Private Partnership(PPP) Guidelines and Processes, for concession.

“A declaration of this honourable court to the effect that the Concession which brought about the alienation of the 1st defendant’s landed properties, for appropriation to individuals to build their residential Estates under any guise whatsoever, is unconscionable, Mala-fide, unwholesome and an exploitation of public property against public interest, hence liable to be revoked by this honourable Court.

"A declaration of this honourable court to the effect that the Concession which brought about the alienation of the 1st defendant’s landed properties, for appropriation to individuals to build their residential Estates under any guise whatsoever, is against the provisions of the Governing legal instrument /law establishing the 1st defendant in Nigeria being the National Commission for Museums and Monuments Act 2004, and other enabling international Treaty on Museum Lands, hence liable to be revoked by this honourable court.

“A declaration of this honourable court that the Concession agreement as composed and constituted is unconscionable, and against public interests and should be declared NULL AND VOID, AND OF NO EFFECT.

“A declaration of this honourable court that the 1st defendant’s land is inappropriable and inalienable to individuals under any guise; hence any appropriation or alienation of such is illegal, unlawful, null and void, and of No effect, and cannot confer any valid title to any purported beneficiary.

“A declaration of court that Land survey parcellation of the property of the 1st defendant in its Enugu State Headquarters Ogui Junction, called M.O.K. Museum Estate or Zoo Estate Phase 2 or any name called, by Surveyors and land speculators, with the intendment to create a living home (Except museum staff quarters, only allocate-able to substantive staff of the Enugu State Museum) as expressed in Survey plan no: 2022 dated 6/25/2022, or any other like Survey plan, as it stands is unconscionable, Mala-fide, unwholesome, and against public interest, hence NULL AND VOID, AND OF NO EFFECT.

“A declaration of court that any transaction, bringing about the exchange of a kobo or naira, for the purposes of acquisition of any portion of land within the known compound of the 1st defendant at its Enugu Headquarters, by anybody or organization, under any guise, as it stands, is illegal, unlawful, null and void and of No effect.

” A declaration of court that only valid payments made in giving effect to the terms of any valid Concession agreement by the Concessionaire, to the Single Treasury Account of the Federal Government, is deemed correct; and any other payment made by anyone, especially the 6th defendant with the intention of acquiring any interest in the landed property located within the headquarters of the 1st defendant in Enugu, is NULL and VOID.

“A declaration of this honourable court that the main principle and intendment of Concession, as construed by the enabling Act, is to Build, modify, operate, make viable and profitable, and reap profit therein by the concessionaire; and later transfer back to the organization after a certain period, hence generating fund from concessionee’s input; and not to acquire authority for Leasing or alienating undeveloped portions of land of the agency to enrich itself, without caring for the standard or viability, management or maintenance of or building of the 1st defendant properties as concessioned.

” A declaration of this honourable court that it is only when the purported Concessionee (the 6th defendant) finishes constructing Museum Cultural Garden, Museum Storage & Workshop, Museum Craft Village, Museum Kitchen, Museum Event Hall, Museum Audio Visual & Photo Workshop, Museum Lecture Theater and MUSEUM Guest House, as contained in the purported Concession agreement, that operation of same can be Concessioned; and not by leasing of Leasing of the 1st defendants land for it to be sub-lease; hence any sublease made by the 6th defendant is illegal, null and void, and of no effect.

“A declaration of court that it is suspicious and illegal for the defendants, particularly the 1st and 3rd defendants to indirectly refuse to issue a copy of the said concession agreement to the plaintiff who applied for same, for him to consummate and allay the fears of the public about the appropriation of the 1st defendant’s land.

“An Order of court revoking in entirety, and declaring NULL AND VOID, AND OF NO EFFECT, the Concession agreement made by the 1st – 5th Defendants in favour of the 6th defendant, for not being in compliance with the intendment of Concession.xiii. A declaration of this honourable Court that the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Enugu Land, is not an infrastructure, within the intendment of Part 1, Sec 1 (1) (2) and 2 (1) of the Infrastructure
Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment ) Act no. 18 of 2005  as amended 2018, hence the purported concession of it, or part thereof, under any guise by the defendants, is ILLEGAL, NULL AND VOID, AND OF NO EFFECT; as only Projects may be qualified for Concession.
“A declaration that there is no Federal Executive Council’s approval to the projects mentioned under this concession contrary to the provisions of Part  1, Sec 2 (2) of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (Establishment ) Act no. 18 of 2005 as amended 2018, hence the Concession is ILLEGAL, NULL AND VOID, AND OF NO EFFECT; as only Projects may be qualified for Concession. xv. An order of this court Commanding the 2nd – 6 th defendants jointly and severally (particularly the 6th defendant) not to merge any portion of the 1st defendants land, with any adjoining land not originally belonging to the first defendant, and to immediately restore any demarcating wall, either partially or completely destroyed by the 6th defendants caterpillar to its previous normal condition, within 14days of service of this order.

”A perpetual Injunction restraining the defendants particularly the 2nd – 6th defendants their agents or privies, or anyone claiming to have acquired title from them, from building or allowing the building of any residential home, or service apartment, in any portion of the first defendant’s headquarters at Enugu, except as clearly specified in a valid Concession agreement, or for the direct promotion of the welfare of the staff of the 1st defendant in Enugu State with Staff Quarters, and their occupation thereof; and not otherwise.

“An order of this Honourable Court commanding any subsisting authority, leadership / Chief Executive of the 1st and 2nd defendants at any point in time as concerned, to forthwith recover possession of all portions of the 1st defendants land, alienated or sub-leased by the Concessionaire, either by using earth moving machines / Caterpillars to demolish any illegal structure therein, or by vacating any occupant therein and assigning such structure for direct Museum use, or in any manner that it deems fit ( based on the principle of qic quid…), and file a clear and satisfactory evidence of such before this court, within 30 days of service of this court order.

“An order of this honourable court awarding a General damages of N10,000,000 (Ten Million naira only) in favour of the Plaintiff, against the defendants jointly and severally, for the discomfiture occasioned by their  unwholesome conduct, and appurtenant expenses insured by the Plaintiff. An order of this Honourable court awarding a 25% Compound interest per annum, on any judgment sum, until the entire judgment sum is liquidated, and evidence of the same filed and served before this court.

“The good thing is that the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission
and its Director General who appears in this matter as the 2nd and 5thDefendants has already filed their Statement of defence and noted that they did not Concession the Enugu Museum land to anybody or any company.

“Let us then cross our hands and see the other peoples defence, and let all concerned , be calm. The youths should not take the laws into their hands, and the Labour organization’s should not demonstrate. Let fraying nerves be calm, as we have placed our card before the Temple of justice.”

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