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How Chijioke Edeoga Connived with Illegal Miners to Divert Environmental Funds Accrued to Enugu State Government

Sinclair Nwodo

The atrocities of Chijioke Jonathan Edeoga have yet to completely unfold. As days roll by, new exposure of his nefarious activities keep on popping up to our chagrin. Edeoga, who desperately seeks to govern Enugu State, has been exposed as a very corrupt person, and his many corrupt sharp practices while he was a commissioner in the state are beginning to gain exposure. Thank goodness Ndi Enugu rejected him at the governorship polls.

Recall that Edeoga served as Commissioner for Local Government Affairs in the first tenure of the immediate past administration of Dr Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. Edeoga was alleged to have, while serving as the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, defrauded the 17 local governments in the state to the tune of N2 billion. Edeoga was alleged to have used a magazine, LG News, which he registered in the name of Rivers and Times Limited to defraud the local governments. Already, some concerned Enugu citizens have reportedly petitioned the EFCC to help recover the Edeoga loot and bring him to justice. Recall also that Sahara Reporters investigated the allegation and found it authentic.

As if that was not enough, the Enugu State Committee on Mining Activities led by the chairman, Prof. Sam Ugwu, the Honourable Commissioner for Environment and Solid Minerals, yesterday, 18th September, 2023 uncovered illegal mining activities at Awhum in Udi Local Government. Besides Awhum, the same illegal minings obtain in many sites within the state. Akintola Oluwafemi, the General Manager in charge of operations at the Awhum site, told the committee that they had been mining at the site since five years ago, a period when Chijioke Edeoga was the Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources, and that the environmental fees had been being remitted to Edeoga’s personal account till date. The committee was alarmed at the revelation, wondering why they should remit the fees to Edeoga’s account, even up untill when he had left office. Meanwhile, there is no evidence of Edeoga remitting the fees paid into his account to the state cofferd. It was also alleged that tax deductions from the staff of the company were also paid to Edeoga account. It is also likely that the many illegal mining sites in the state may be also remitting fees and taxes to Edeoga at the expense of the state government. Edeoga’s alleged economic crime is viewed seriously, moreso as this is someone who wants to be governor and who is in court.

Reliable sources have it that Edeoga has been collecting revenue accrued to the state government from mining sites and burrow pits in the state. A Chinese company located at Akachele Obimo, in Nsukka Local Government which produces charcoal for exports allegedly till date remits the sum of N300,000 to Chijioke Edeoga for every truckload of charcoal at the site. The company loads average of 15 trucks weekly, which follows that Edeoga collects average of N4.5 million weekly and N18 million monthly from the Chinese firm, Ahaahaa.

Edeoga had allegedly perpetrated these economic crimes with impunity, in that he continued to collect these fees till date. Recall that the Enugu State Government had banned illegal mining in the state in June, 2023, yet the illegal mining activities had gone on unabated as the looters smile to the banks. A reliable confidant told our reporter that he had it on authority that Edeoga positioned his men at the sites who recorded the number of trucks loaded and reported to him. The implication is that Edeoga might be in jail even before that matter he filed in court is exhausted, as the Enugu State Government would brook no such crime, and let the culprit go unpunished. Besides refunding all he had collected for over 5 years, Edeoga may likely face prosecution at the court, and may likely be jailed when found guilty, as the evidence against him are incontrovertible.

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