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EXCLUSIVE: Enugu State Govt Plans Sale Of State Newspaper Land, As Peter Mbah’s Pinnacle Oil Station Undergoes Reconstruction.

Peter Mbah.

The Enugu State Government is in desperate negotiation to sell the vast acres of land belonging to the Star Printing and Publishing Company Limited, owners of the Daily Star, Sunday Star, and Ogene newspaper titles. This is even as Governor Peter Mbah has been busy renovating and expanding his Pinnacle Oil petrol stations in some parts of the country.

Located at number 9 Works Road, GRA, Enugu, the land, which also accommodated the Enugu State Marketing Board, is said to be running into several acres, according to one source who confided in this newspaper, is being put up for sale, allegedly to offset financial and other commitments made by the PDP during the electioneering campaign of 2022-2023.

Another source, who also confirmed the sale of the property, said that the government is putting the moribund newspaper’s landed property for sale as part of the culture of sharing of government lands and properties, which hallmarked previous administrations in the state.

Under the administration of former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani, prime government properties were sold to government officials and their friends. For instance, the Ikenga Hotels, Enugu was cannibalized and converted to a housing estate, with the buildings sold to political friends. Other prime properties of the state government were similarly sold.

Under the administration of Sullivan Chime, the trend continued, as the governor allegedly sold the popular Polo Park, converting it to a shopping mall. The same thing happened to a parcel of land beside the State House of Assembly, which also sprouted into a shopping complex, while the residential quarters of the attorney general of the state was converted to the governor’s residential building.

The trend continued unabated under the administration of the immediate past governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, under whose administration, nearly all the lands belonging to the state government were sold. These included land belonging to the National Museum and Monuments, located near the old governor’s lodge on Abakaliki Road, the vast expanses of land belonging to the Women Training College Enugu, GRA Nsukka, among several others.

“The Governor wants to settle his own men, and I do not think he wants to prove the past administrations to be able to recover some of these lands,” our source said, adding that, the sale of Daily Star is one of the ways the governor “wishes to settle himself and those who supported his governorship contest.”

Established in 1975, Daily Star was an influential government-owned newspaper that belonged to the East Central State Government, the government of Anambra State inherited it after its creation in 1976 by the administration of the late General Murtala Mohammed. At its peak, Daily Star was circulating nationally with a daily print run of more than 600,000 copies.

While spirited efforts are being made to sell government properties, activities are at fever-peak at the premises of Pinnacle Oil petrol station, located at Ilasamaja, along the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Lagos.

Sitting on a vast expanse of land measuring more than 15 plots, Pinnacle Oil, which belongs to Governor Peter Mbah is undergoing serious renovation. Workers are working night and day at the site, breaking the concrete floor in an apparent effort to dig out and replace the fuel tanks buried underneath.

Although the premises have been blocked from view with aluminum roofing sheets, workers could be seen moving in and out of the compound, as sounds of machines continued to indicate the urgency of the work going on behind the scenes.

A worker, who claimed to be a subcontractor at the site told our correspondent that the owners of the company want the job to be delivered urgently, hence the desperate speed of work going on at the site.

“My brother, what they are building here is a mega petrol station. I am not sure there will be any other station that will be bigger and better than this one in this Lagos when we finish. And they want us to deliver this before the end of November this year,” he said.

It was not immediately clear why the reconstruction was happening at the same time the premises of Daily Star were being negotiated for sale and shortly after the sum of N5 billion was received by the state government from the federal government for fuel subsidy removal palliatives. However, the pace of work at the site is indicative of how quickly the owners want the reconstruction to be completed.


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