The Senate Committee on Industries on Thursday cautioned the Imo Government against its alleged encroachment on Federal Government property in the state.

The Chairman of the committee, Sen. Sam Egwu, gave the caution in Owerri while inspecting some projects executed by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) in the state.

Egwu claimed that the state government had encroached on part of SMEDAN land in the state.

But in a swift reaction, Mr Sam Onwuemedo, denied the allegation of encroachment, saying the land in question belonged to Imo government.

The committee chairman said the committee would communicate to the senate leadership its observations on the land.

“We came to inspect SMEDAN projects in Imo as part of our oversight functions and we noticed that the governor has demolished a federal government property and built a new house on it.

“We are going to write the senate on the development and we must communicate our stand to the governor because we will not let him take SMEDAN property.

“I don’t believe that Okorocha was aware of this encroachment, but if he is, it is most unfortunate,” Egwu said.

He charged officials of Imo Industrial Development Center (IDC) to always protect government properties from land grabbers.

The committee chairman said he was impressed by the level of projects at the IDC, and would make recommendations for more funds to be appropriated to the developmental projects in SMEDAN.

The Director General of SMEDAN, Mr Dikkumany Radda, said the ministry was committed to improving industries in Nigeria, adding that it would continue to encourage entrepreneurship in the country.

Radda expressed worries over the demolition of IDC property by the state government but said that the ministry would do everything possible to recover the property.

The Coordinator of Industrial Development Centre, Mrs Chinyere Woke, told the committee that agents of the state government, without any notice, entered the land and demolished the structure in it.

Woke said that members of the staff were threatened by Gov. Rochas Okorocha not to resist the takeover of the land.

She however added that the centre had communicated the development to the appropriate authorities for action.

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