Heroes’ Square Lease: Imo Govt Stops Investor from Possession

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Amby Uneze in Owerri

A frontline governorship aspirant in Imo State and investor, Prince Daniel Kanu has accused Imo State Government of violating an agreement for the leasing of the Heroes’ Square as well as stopping an investment involved in the business to the tune of $14.7 million. He also accused government of owing his company, Quest Resources Consults Limited the sum of N630 million.

Kanu, who is also the Director of Quest Resources Consults Limited, the company that had the business deal with the Imo State government in 2012 frowned on the alleged breach of the lease agreement by denying the company access to the property without any formal communication to the company, describing the actions of the state government as lawless and tantamount to impunity and recklessness.

In a swift reaction, the State Commission for Information, Prof. Nnamdi Obiareri disclosed that he was still new to the ministry and as such had no information on the deal. But the chief Security Officer to the Governor, Ali, who stormed the venue ordered Daniel Kanu and his staff members out of the premises, noting that it was an order from his boss.

This was just as he stated that the company had paid the state government the sum of N20 million as the lease agreement which is to run for 35 years, but that five years after the lease agreement was signed that the state government is yet to honour her own part.

According to him, whereas the state government has not been able to live up to the contents of the agreement, the recent directive to stop the company from exercising its rights by way of completing her construction work of a-nine-storey hotel building in the premises, taking over the property is totally unacceptable and unlawful.

“The Lease agreement was executed in 2012 under the Okorocha government and the agreement was signed by the Commissioner for Lands, then, Mr. Uche Nwosu on behalf of the government and the lease agreement was N20 million and annual ground rental fee of N1 million and that the Quest Resources Consults Limited will maintain the facilities at its own cost. And the lease is for 35 years, but for the last five years we have not been able to exercise our rights at all,” he said.

He added, “On coming to resume the work at the nine-storey hotel building and the sports gym we learnt that state Government has instructed the men of the civil defense at the gate not to allow workers of the company into the property which is a violation of the Lease agreement.

“This is lawlessness and we cannot continue to condone such behaviour in a democratic system where there should be rule of law. We want to use this medium to call on the Imo state government to obey the rule of law by ensuring that the right of the owner of Heroes’ Square is exercised”, he lamented.

Kanu also disclosed that in the lease agreement, government would be given preference to use the premises at the cost of N350,000 at every occasion. However, he said the state government has not paid a dime as stipulated by the agreement since government had not allowed the company access to the property. It then means it owns the company the sum of N630 million.

“In the lease agreement the government is free to use the Heroes’ Square, however, the government is supposed to pay the sum of N350,000 at every occasion but since the agreement was signed the state government is owing the company N630 million from making use of the Heroes’ Square and has not paid a dime to the company based on the lease agreement”, he submitted.

While he said the company does not want to join issues with the state government, he noted that they are going to enforce their rights as the owners of the Heroes’ Square as stipulated in the lease agreement, as they are still servicing the interests of the loan which they took from the banks to invest in the Lease agreement.