Emeka Ihedioha, governor of Imo state, has denied destroying a tower built by Rochas Okorocha, his predecessor.
In a statement on Thursday, Steve Osuji, special adviser to the governor on media, said angry residents of the state, who saw no significance in the monument, attempted to pull it down.
There were reports that the governor had ordered the destruction of the Akachi statue, a tourist attraction in Owerri, the state capital, with the supervision of soldiers.
“Imo State government has no hand in the demolition of Akachi statue,” the statement read.
“Contrary to reports emanating from Owerri, the Government of Imo State has no hand in the pulling down of the gargantuan Akachi statue near Aba Road, Owerri.
“In the same vein, government seizes this opportunity to warn Imo people to desist from unruly behavior and remain law abiding as anyone caught breaking the law would be prosecuted. The security agencies have been put on alert to maintain law and order across the state.
“At about noon on Thursday, a mammoth crowd had besieged the Akachi statue hacking at it and trying to pull it down, apparently acting in pent up anger.
“According to reports, Imo people seem to have nursed a loathing for the statue right from the beginning, considering it a monument that portends ominous auguries for the people of the state.”
Osuji added that the tower could have been destroyed by contractors who worked on the project but were not paid.
“If government deems it necessary to pull down the statue or any structure for that matter, it would be done properly and in accordance with the law,” he said.
“Does it stand to reason that a government that is barely 24 hours old, with no handover notes whatsoever and without an office to work from yet, would concern itself with an ordinary statue? Let it be known that the new government in Imo State has its eyes set on nobler goals which includes fast-tracking the rebuilding of Imo State.
“It is interesting to note that the Akachi statue is a massive monument of a hand pointing heavenwards and rising about 50 feet into the atmosphere.
“Not many in Imo quite understand the significance, if any or importance of the Akachi statue, one of the baleful legacies of out-gone governor, Rochas Okorocha.”