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ABIA LAND ALLOCATION SCANDAL: KPMG Report Uncovered Illegal Practices During Ikpeazu’s Administration

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KPMG’s audit reveals widespread illegal land allocations in Abia under Ikpeazu’s administration.

 

A recent audit by KPMG that generated so much tension also revealed that 71% of land allottees under the previous administration of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in Abia State acquired land through verbal requests to government officials, violating Nigeria’s Land Use Act of 1978. The KPMG report, commissioned by current Governor Alex Otti, exposed significant irregularities in land allocation processes from 2015 to 2023.

 

The 359-page report, titled “Final Report: Provision of Process Review Services to Abia State Government,” was submitted on March 2, 2024. It highlighted that out of 91 land allocations, 65 were made without formal applications, breaching legal requirements.

 

Section 2 of the Land Use Act mandates that state governors establish a Land Use and Allocation Committee to oversee land administration. However, the report found that Ikpeazu’s administration failed to set up this committee, leaving land control to the commissioner, permanent secretary, and director of lands, thereby contravening the law.

Despite a policy requiring written applications, application fees, and other documents, the Ministry of Lands often disregarded these rules. KPMG’s analysis revealed that only 26 out of 91 allottees submitted application letters, with even fewer meeting all documentation requirements.

 

Ikpeazu’s spokesperson, Onyechuchi Ememanka, disputed the findings, claiming that the state government only hired KPMG for a process review, not a forensic audit. He argued that the report admitted the possibility of missing information, rendering it inconclusive.

 

Ememanka suggested that application letters might not have been shown to KPMG, emphasizing the need for further inquiry.

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