Amby Uneze in Owerri
Imo State Government said it had recovered the state-owned second university known as Eastern Palm University, Ogboko in Ideato South area of the state, warning any intruder to stay away from the facility or be prepared to face the full weight of the law.
The state also reminded that it had empowered relevant security agents to deal with anyone or group of persons trying to test the will of government over ownership of the university
Decision to implement the details of the findings by a penal set up by government of which the Whitepaper had been approved by the Executive Council. Government said it took the decision at its weekly Exco meeting presided over by the Governor Hope Uzodimma.
The Council while accepting the Whitepaper Report on Land Use and Related Matters which recognised that the Eastern Palm University was owned by the state, therefore resolved that all necessary steps must be taken to recover the university from fraudulent claimants.
Addressing newsmen at the Government House Owerri, the Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, said that the Eastern Palm University was accredited by Nigerian University Commission (NUC) as the second Imo State-owed university.
The Whitepaper, according to the commissioner, recommended that the university should be recovered and appropriately designated as a state university in accordance with the laid down guidelines of NUC.
“Consequently, Council has directed the relevant ministries to take immediate steps to implement the decisions of the Executive Council as they concern the Whitepaper Report,” he said.
Buttressing the Whitepaper report, the Executive Council stressed that Eastern Palm University was not only registered with NUC as second Imo State university, but was built and funded with Imo State tax payers money, hence government would not waste time to implement the recommendations of the Whitepaper.
Emelumba said that in the nearest future government would decide on what to do with the university and that the people of Imo State would be informed appropriately.
Emelumba, who was accompanied by the Commissioner for Tourism and Culture, Mrs. Doris Akubue-Onyeali warned that “now that the university has been recovered and returned to the state, anybody seen at the site or premises parading himself or herself in any manner in terms of ownership or otherwise will be dealt with decisively.”
On the plight of the students and workers, the Commissioner said the Council assuaged their fear, noting that none of them would be made to suffer for anything they are innocent of.
He added that the relevant Ministries and Agencies had been charged to handle such cases as they may be applicable to the full implementation of the Whitepaper.
In another development, the Council cleared the air on the orchestrated N8.9billion Fidelity Bank “Loan” approved by the Imo State House of Assembly, describing the insinuation as unfounded.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy clarified that the money in question was not a loan, but Imo State Government’s share from the Excess Crude Account from the Federal Government.
He said what Imo State Government did was simply to use her entitlement to get the money in bulk from Fidelity, her customer bank, instead of waiting for it to come to the state install mentally.
He therefore reiterated that the Imo State government under Governor Uzodimma had not borrowed from any bank yet and as regards N8.9 billion it is Imo State money that the governor has requested from her customer bank and not a loan.