IN Enugu State, particularly in urban and sub-urban areas, it is no news that the state government, through its agencies such as State and Local Government Town Planning Authorities and the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA), had put many residents in agony and penury following the demolition of their buildings and structures which it labelled as illegal.
The recent demolition that invoked sympathy, pain and fury in Enugu was the one carried out last month at Ugwuomu-Ngwo, Bunker, a suburb of Enugu as two persons were allegedly killed by security operatives during the exercise.
What, however, further angered many residents of the affected area was that the demolition was done in their absence.
“We reported to the Ngwo community and on Monday morning, they mobilised and came to the scene, protesting and requesting a stop to further demolition of people’s houses. Suddenly, policemen, numbering over fifty, stormed the place shooting sporadically and in the process, two people were killed”, said one of the victims. The State Commissioner of Police, Adamu Abubakar, however, declined comment on the matter when contacted.
“In 2013, one Aric Chime sued me to Enugu magistrate court to stop me from completing my storey building, which at that time, was at the plastering stage. He claimed that he bought the entire area from the Federal Government, courtesy of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE). However, when the case started, he absconded and a judgement entered in my favour to complete the house.
“So, I was shocked to see my house completely demolished with all that I had laboured for, for years without notice to vacate the house. This matter is still at the Federal High Court where the Ngwo community said they didn’t know him as the land belongs to them. The case was also taken to the state High Court, precisely court 11. The matter came up on 17th of December, 2014 and the said Aric Chime wasn’t in the court”.
But speaking on the matter, the Enugu State government has assured its residents that its mega city project was not aimed at witch-hunting anybody, but to secure the life of the people. Commissioner for the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, Emmanuel Omeje explained that the government was more interested in making the residents abide by the relevant laws than engage in punitive actions.