The Federal Government of Nigeria has indicated interested in taking over Ojukwu Bunker, War Museum in Abia State.
The tourist attraction site and properties are among others in 10 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) listed by the Federal Government.
Candidreporters.com gathered that in a letter signed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, which instructed a company known as Messr. Gerry Ikputu & Partners and M.E Sheriff Esq of M.E. Sheriff & Co as agents to oversee the ‘recovery’ of the said properties for the government.
Historical Background of The National War Museum:
The National War Museum in Umuahia was commissioned in 1985 and contains relics of Nigeria’s military history, especially the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War of 1967 to 1970. The museum has a collection of weapons and other items used during the war. The weapons describe memories of the civil war.
The Ojukwu Bunker, built in 1968 during the war, was used by Biafra warlord, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu.
The site has become one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country, with people visiting the place on daily basis to see the war artefacts, either for research purposes or to relive memories of the period.
The Uncertainties Revealing:
It would be recalled that, on November 3, 2021, the director general of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Alex Okoh, when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation to defend the 2022 budget of the agency, had denied any attempt to sell the properties.
He said: “There is nothing like that. No plan by the Federal Government to concession the War Museum,” adding that “It is a monument of historic dimension.”
But the said letter signed by Malami cleared listed the War Museum and the Ojukwu Bunker as part of properties to be ‘recovered’ by appointed agents of the Federal Government.
The Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, Alex Okoh, on Wednesday reacted to the allegation that the Federal Government was planning to sell the Biafra War Museum and the bunker used by Biafra warlord, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu.
He reacted to the development when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation.
The question on the reported controversial sale was put to Okoh by the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Theodore Orji.
Federal Government’s Response;
The Director General said Ojukwu’s bunker and war museum in Abia State are monuments of historic dimension.
According to him: “There is nothing like that.
“No plan by the Federal Government to concession the war museum.
“It is a monument of historic dimension.”
The Nigerian National War Museum in Umuahia, Abia State showcases the military history of Nigeria with relics form the Biafra-Nigerian Civil War.
It has a collection of tanks, AFLs, ships and aircraft all from Nigeria and Biafra.
Almost all the tanks and AFLs are Biafran and all aircraft are Nigerian.
The Director General of the BPE while defending 2022 budget of the agency, said personnel cost for the agency for the year will be N1.4 billion, while overhead cost will be N537 million and capital N167 million.
Okoh informed the lawmakers that the revenue projection for the agency in 2022 will be N86.5 billion and it will be for sale of Afam Power Plan at about N78 billion and Yola Disco at N7.8 billion.
According to the Director General of the BPE, N2.3 billion was remitted to the Federation Account in 2021, while the outstanding of N508 million was from the sale of NITEL Non-Core asset.
Earlier, the Chairman queried :fluctuating personnel cost of the agency between 2020 and 2022.
According to the budget of the agency, the personnel cost for 2020 was N1.4 billion, but in 2021, there was a decrease to N1.3 billion, while 2022, it went up again to N1.4 billion.
But the BPE boss explained that in 2021, some staff of the organisation were retired, while in 2022, it was as a result of staff promotion.