The Anambra State Government has cleared the air on the crisis that rocked under fly-over park, Nkpor, Idemili North Local Government Area, stating that it owns the park and not Amafor community as claimed by the chairman of the community, Chief Emmanuel Idemili.
Briefing newsmen through the Managing Director, MD, of Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency, ANSIPPA, Mr. Mark Okoye, the government disclosed that it has a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with a private investor, Business Link Limited, to manage the park on its behalf, adding that the partnership is called Anambra Business Link Limited.
The MD, who addressed newsmen at the ANSIPPA headquarters, Awka, through his Executive Director, Hon. Ejike Osisioma, reiterated that the activities of Amafor people in the park by collecting money were illegal, vowing that for the one year they illegally collected money in the park, the money so collected must be refunded as the only authorized body to collect revenue there and remmit same to State Government was the Business Link Limited.
Recalling how the MOU was signed in October 25th, 2016, between the State Government and Business Link, he said the park in question has been a refuse dump, den for armed robbers and traffick gridlock axis and at night all these hoodlums, armed robbers sleep there.
“So somebody came up with an idea to the State Government on how to make the place clean, green and beautiful. Government bought the idea and the person went to Lagos to under study the fly-over bridges and on return, the government had an MOU with his idea, which is the Business Link Limited.
“The Business Link funded the whole thing there that included the beautification with flowers, cleanliness, among others, with her own money. The only contribution of the State government is that it owns the park. The Business Link collects revenue there on behalf of the State Government and the life span for the revenue collection is 10 years, subject to renewal.
“We as ANSIPPA don’t manage the park or finance nor control it. The only person authorized based on the MOU to collect revenue on behalf of State Government is Business Link. We only interface between the State Government and the private investor, that is Business Link,” he further affirmed.
Recall that early last week, fierce-looking security operatives sacked Amafor people working in the park which prompted the chairman of the community, Chief Emmanuel Idemili, to call a press conference, accusing the State Government of using masked security operatives to sack them from their park.
His words, “I called this press conference to let the world know that masked security operatives stormed our park where our people were working, started shooting and chased our people away from their duty post.
“We are in charge of the parks, we got our permissions from the state government to generate revenue from the parks for the state government.
” Just this morning, I was at Awka on official assignment, when our men who are working at the parks called me and told me that masked security operatives stormed the parks under the fly-over bridge and started shooting indiscriminately, ordering them to vacate the place immediately, and they took to their heels.
“The shootings and attack from these security men may have come from the former transition chairman of Idemili North Local Government Area, Chief Raphael Nnabife Ashia, because when he was the transition Committee chairman, he sacked us from the parks, telling us that the parks were owned and controlled by the State government and not the Amafor community.
Reacting also, former Commissioner in the State who pleaded anonimity confirmed that the park belonged to the State Government, recalling that the Amafor community was paid compensation when the land was taken over by the government.