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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Government talks about demolition of buildings in Enugu estate

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The Enugu State Government has spoken out on the reported demolition of some properties in Centenary Estate in Enugu State.

The estate, popularly known as Centennial City, is located on a large tract of land belonging to Obeagu Awkunanaw and some families in Amechi Uwani, a neighboring community in Enugu South Local Government Area of ​​the state.

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However, it is said to have been acquired by a property developer, Private Estates International West Africa, during the administration of the state’s former governor, Sullivan Chime.

The reported demolition

A popular Nigerian sketch creator, Chibuike Ugwu, also known as Untouchable, had raised the alarm on January 19 in a video clip that his mansion was about to be demolished by the state’s urban development agency, the Development Authority. Enugu Capital Territory.

In the five-minute clip that went viral on social media, Ugwu appealed to Nigerians to help him convince Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State not to demolish his property.

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The sketch maker said that he was not involved in any fraud and that he built the property with his hard work, adding that he has all the documents to prove that the property was approved.

He said he returned from Lagos state in southwestern Nigeria and noticed that his building on the estate had been marked for possible demolition with instructions for him to remove the structure.

The clip showed that the building was marked for demolition by the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority on January 12.

It also showed many other buildings on the estate that were demolished by the agency.

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“Today they destroyed more than 200 houses on this farm. These are people’s investments. They came here. They were threatening to destroy my house. They even brought a bulldozer and tried to demolish it,” she said in a mix of English and pidgin.

Ugwu said he was willing to pay any taxes imposed by the government on property owners in the estate.

“No, my only house in Enugu State is this one, abeg,” he pleaded repeatedly.

The government speaks

Reacting, the Enugu State Government denied demolishing any buildings on the estate and said the perpetrators of the video clip attempted to de-market the state for investment.

State Information Commissioner Aka Eze Aka and Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority Chairman Uche Anya debunked the allegation on Saturday when they took journalists to some demolished buildings in the estate, according to the Information Agency. Nigerian News.

They explained that the affected buildings were demolished because they served as a hiding place for the kidnappers, highlighting that none of the unauthorized structures in the area have yet been demolished.

The officials added that the development agency’s action in collaboration with security agencies underlined the government’s commitment to security of lives and property, protection of investments and contracts with investors.

“The culprits not only built the structures without any title or approval, but they entered this place pretending to be doing a block industry, while as you can see, they were engaged in nefarious activities,” Aka said while addressing reporters. .

The commissioner said that, contrary to the accusations of the creator of the work, “not a single building destined for demolition was touched.”

“This is because we also have the human feeling to allow these houses to be regularized; they simply dedicated themselves to recycling old videos where some properties were destroyed by past administrations,” she said.

For her part, Anya said the agency would not “succumb to blackmail, including recycling and trending videos of past demolitions.”

He explained that the law that created the agency prohibited carrying out any development or municipal service within the capital territory without the written approval of the authority.

He said the leadership of the development agency was determined to stop unauthorized developments and continue the process of restoration and renewal of the urban master plan, including those initiated by successive administrations.

“We have taken the initiative to mark the affected property in October 2023, issuing notices which should provide developers with a window to regularize their titles/properties, if any.

READ ALSO: Police raid criminals’ hideout in Enugu, arrest 3, recover firearms

“To emphasize, even though the notices had already expired, no unapproved but completed or occupied buildings were demolished during the ECTDA exercise. “We continue to ask developers to do the right thing,” he stated.

He explained that the January 19 demolition was based on an intelligence report about an illegal property that served as a den of kidnappers in Centenario City.

He highlighted that in the course of their “due diligence” they discovered that the property, like many others in Centenary City, had no title or approval from the appropriate authorities.

“Although the building was not completely finished, the criminals had already set up sophisticated surveillance equipment, such as CCTV cameras and PTZ cameras, as well as about two dozen mobile phones, indicating the dangerous level of sophistication.

“As some videos already in the public domain clearly show, we made some chilling discoveries when storming the property with security agents, including several weapons and suspected kidnappers, whom security agents were able to arrest,” he said.

Sorry?

Meanwhile, there are reports on Sunday that the creator of the sketch apologized to the governor for the video clip, claiming that he was misinformed and influenced by his emotions to make the accusations.

But PREMIUM TIMES could not independently confirm the development for the time being.

(YAYA)

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