Yesterday, officials of Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority and Ministry of Environment, acting on orders of the Chief of Staff to Governor Sullivan Chime, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo, in an unprecedented move stormed the official lodge of the state deputy governor, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi, and carted away over 3,000 birds and about 40 crates of eggs from his poultry.
The ECTDA and Environment Ministry officials, who were led by their commissioners, Messrs Ikechukwu Ugwuegede and Nnaemeka Chukwuone respectively, arrived the lodge at about 1p.m. on Monday to inform Mr. Onyebuchi of the Chief of Staff’s order to evacuate the chickens and demolish the poultry, which the government said constituted a public health hazard.
It was a hapless deputy governor, who was with his wife and personal aides, including the security officers attached to his office at the lodge, which has been under renovation since September 2012, watched as his birds were evacuated in four trucks to an unknown destination by the officials.
In justification of the state government’s action, Chief Press Secretary to Chime, Chukwudi Achife, said it was regrettable that the deputy governor chose to ignore all entreaties, including a government directive, to relocate the birds, especially since it had to do with the health of the people.
The statement read: “In recent times, the stench from the poultry had been pervading the Government House and causing much discomfort to all workers within the Government House, including, of course, the governor.
“Following persistent complaints and appeals from staff of the government, the Permanent Secretary, Government House, Mr. GOC Ajah, was instructed to invite the Ministry of Environment and Government House clinic to inspect the poultry.
“Both the Ministry and Government House medical personnel came out with a verdict that the place was not being well kept and constituted a health hazard to people working in the Government House.
“Based on this report, the Permanent Secretary has, on a number of occasions, taken Government House staff to clean up the poultry.
“However, when the problem persisted, it was brought to the notice of the governor who then directed relevant government officers to communicate the health concerns to the deputy governor with a view to having him maintain the place properly or relocate the birds.
“The deputy governor did not comply with any of these directives after several correspondences, even as the stench from the poultry continued to assault people working in Government House.
“Government then directed the commissioners in charge of the Enugu Capital Territory and the Ministry of Environment to evacuate the birds to a safe place and clean up the place.
“It is regrettable that the deputy governor chose to ignore all entreaties, including government’s directive to relocate the birds, especially one that had to do with the health of the people.
“Government’s directive was carried out by officials of both ministries without incident. The birds were evacuated to a safe place and would be handed over to the deputy governor whenever and wherever he chooses.
“It is important to also state that the deputy governor does not currently live in the premises as it is being renovated by the government”.