The controversy surrounding the ownership of the motor park within the Nigerian Inland Water Authority (NIWA) has reached its peak with the recent sealing and approval revocation by the Onitsha South Local Government Area.
Mr. Emeka Joseph Orji, the Chairman of the local government, stated that they took this action because the operator owes over N500 million in tax and levy arrears.
In recent weeks, a dispute has been escalating between the Council area, operator Chief Ngozi Ogbagu, Basil Ejidike, and NIWA regarding the true owner of the market and motor park.
Ogbagu and Ejidike, who both participated in the initial approval seventeen years ago, assert that NIWA owns the property, and it consequently belongs to the federal government.However, the Onitsha South local government maintains that the park and market are the rightful property of the Council area and the Anambra state government, asserting that NIWA has no legitimate claim to the property.
A letter titled “Revocation of All Approvals and or Exemption Revenues,” issued to NIWA Motor Park and Market, declares, “We hereby revoke and declare void abinitio the purported exemption and approval letters granted to you and your company for the following reasons.”
It goes on to cite discrepancies in the approval letters and a deliberate attempt to defraud local and state governments of revenue related to the park and market.
Responding to this situation, Chief Ngozi Ogbagu has stated that he is taking legal action to assert NIWA’s ownership of the property, as he believes NIWA granted it for his use.