The Abia State Government on Monday gave the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seven days to remove what it called “offensive” notices placed on some assets and estates said to belong to the state government.
Chief Uche Ihediwa, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, announced the ultimatum while speaking on some developments in the state, including the sealing off of some property purported to belong to a highly placed politician in the state.
In a statement in Umuahia, the state capital, Ihediwa urged the EFCC to tender an unreserved apology to the state within seven days due to the inconvenience its action had caused the state.
The commissioner sad the state would seek legal redress if the EFCC failed to apologise within the period.
He said the assets the EFCC marked belonged to Abia State government, adding that the government duly entered into partnership with credible investors for the development of the property under a public private partnership (PPP) while the reversionary interest in the property would reside in the state government.
Ihediwa stressed that the law establishing the EFCC makes it clear that the commission can only seal off the property of persons under investigation, saying the ownership of the property in question was not under probe.
He recalled that in 2016, the EFCC investigated the ownership of most of property and the certificates of occupancy and the PPP arrangement between the state government and investors in various assets.
The commissioner described the action of the EFCC as unwarranted and unlawful, saying the agency did not ask the state government about the ownership of the property whose title documents are domiciled in the Ministry of Lands.
The sealed assets include the Abia Mall, the Adelabu Housing Estate, the former township main market at Ogwumabiri, the Millennium Luxury Apartment, Abia Hotels and Linto Estate, Old Timber Market, all in Umuahia.