The Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, ECTDA, says the demolition it carried out at the Centenary Estate, located at Amechi and Obeagu-Awkunanaw in Enugu South LGA of the state was in compliance with a court ruling and directive by the state’s ministry of lands to vacate illegal buildings erected in the estate.
Gideon Eze, ECTDA’s public relations officer, told newsmen that the owners of the affect buildings violated the city’s master plan. He however denied any knowledge of a court injunction restraining the action of the agency.
According to him, “Before now, the agency had been duly informed by the state ministry of lands to carry out an enforcement of the order of the judgement of the Enugu State High Court. This agency, since July 2021, gave notice to the owners of the affected buildings.”
On allegations by some affected property owners that they were genuinely allocated the land, Eze said, “If there was an approval of such, the agency would not have gone into enforcement. We scrutinise everything we do to avoid errors; unless if such approvals were got through the back door.
“We want to use this medium to appeal to the public to visit the agency to ensure that approvals they get are genuine. The agency cannot give an approval and still comes back to say it is null and void. We don’t witch-hunt any community. We are humans, but the right thing has to be done to ensure that rules and regulations prevail.
“If there is an injunction of such, I am not aware right now. There was a judgement that brought about the directive. The primary reason for demolition is because the affected houses contravene the city’s master plan.”
Our correspondent reports that ECTDA, Wednesday, commenced demolition of the houses at the Centenary Estate, off Enugu-Port-Harcourt expressway, in Enugu South LGA. The agency had earlier announced it would demolish 68 buildings in the estate which it claimed were illegally constructed.
It gave the communities of Amechi and Obeagu-Awkunanaw who laid claims to the ownership of the land seven days to vacate the land and fixed demolition for May 4 2023.
ECTDA mobilised caterpillars to the disputed area with a detachment of police, Department of State Services, and operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps. The natives had earlier blocked the road to the disputed area in the estate with bonfires but were overpowered and dispersed by security officials who shot sporadically.