By Vincent Ujumadu
AWKA—A COALITION of Igbo socio- political groups has faulted the reported involvement of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in the concession of the Lagos International Trade Fair by the Bureau for Public Enterprises, BPE.
The groups, Progressive Igbo Students Forum, Igbo Gadi Nma, Progressive Igbo Youths for Good Governance and Igbo Women For Progressive Change, said in a statement in Awka that they were particularly piqued by the statement credited to the Director-General of BPE that the chairman of Aulic Nigeria Limited, Professor Nick Ezeh, whose company is the management concessionaire of the Trade Fair Complex, was arrested and detained by the EFCC on the strength of the petition by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
The statement was signed by Comrade Johnson Anyim for Igbo Gadi Nma, Comrade Solomon Eze for Progressive Igbo Students Forum, Mrs. Obianuju Okeke for Igbo Women for Progressive Change and Comrade Emeka Nwagwu for Progressive Igbo Youths for Good Governance.
According to the groups, it would appear that EFCC was engaged by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment because it could not stand the superior presentations of Ezeh at the Federal High Court on the litigation of a civil matter involving the company and the BPE over the concession.
The coalition said: “We see this as a clear act of impunity and oppression against Igbo people who are major stakeholders in the trade fair complex and we will not allow Igbo leaders to be humiliated using the EFCC as an agent of intimidation and harassment.
.”While we shall support genuine fight against corruption in the system, we will resist any attempt to deprive good people their right..
“We also call on the Buhari administration to investigate the high-level corruption and connivance of the BPE, the old Trade Fair Management Board, TMB, and the officials of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in the matter with a view to unraveling the mystery behind the non implementation of the concession agreement signed since 2007.”
“This is a case of economic sabotage that must be tackled squarely to deter further illegal encroachment as there cannot exist two concessions and dual management for the complex.” The group appealed to the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, the South East /South -South professionals, the Aka Ikenga and the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) to intervene on the matter to stop what it called the systematic embarrassment against the Igbo.