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Enugu ex-commissioner rues demolition of his property

“A former Commissioner for Lands in Enugu State Deacon Okey Ogbodo has protested the alleged illegal demolition of his property by the Enugu Capital Development Authority (ECDA).”- The Nation

He urged all and sundry to prevail on the ECDA to backpedal, adding that in seeking redress he would follow due process and God’s leading.

He said, “I do not have the power or might to reverse overnight this illegal action committed against me and my family, but I shall rely on the due process of the law of the land and the Supreme God whom I serve to hold the perpetrators of this dastard act, to account, sooner or later.

But in a swift reaction, the Commissioner for Enugu Capital Development Authority, Mr Chidi Aroh, a lawyer, dismissed Ogbodo’s claim, pointing out that the property was pulled down based on reports from the state ministry of lands which marked it illegal structure.

The fence, according to Aroh, was not part of the original master plan of the layout, hence the need to bring it down.

Ogbodo, in a press statement he personally signed and issued in Enugu, accused the ECDA officials of compromising their duties.

The said structure located at Onah Lane, off Agbani Road Enugu, had been under dispute, as St. Patrick’s Catholic church and some residents of the area had petitioned the state ministry of land and ECDA, claiming that the fence was obstructing free flow of movement of people and waterways in the area, adding that it was lying on access road.

The petitioners had also claimed that the controversial fence has continued to make life unbearable for residents of the area, insisting that it be removed.

But, the ex-commissioner accused the church of being determined to wrestle the said piece of land where the fence was erected from him at all ýcosts, “even after I had made it known that, being an ancestral inheritance bequeathed to me and my siblings, I was not in a position to dispose of the land.”

Ogbodo, who also served as Finance Commissioner, said: “I restate without equivocation that there has never been any such layout plan in existence. If the ECDA officials actually pulled down the walls of my property in satisfaction of the fake layout plan bandied about recently, then they have committed a heinous, unforgivable crime against, not just a law-abiding citizen, but a servant of God.”

He alleged that the church connived with some corrupt town planning officials to manufacture a fake layout plan which purportedly designated the said land as lying on an access road” And may I ask, access road to where?

“In the past three months, I have cried out to the whole world, and made formal representations to the Enugu state Governor, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi, detailing the dubious machinations of the church and its paid agents in government ministries and parastatals to have the land taken from me.

The ECDA Commissioner said that his office acted based on reports from the ministry of Lands which carried out thorough investigation and established that the controversial fence was actually an illegal structure, which was creating serious problem for residents.

Aroh, explained that prior to the implementation of the report on the demolition, his ministry had received several petitions from the Catholic church and residents of the area, complaining bitterly about the difficulties they go through as a result of the blockage of their access road by the fence.

Besides, the Commissioner said that Deacon Ogbodo, had more than 60 days to take any action, aimed at stopping the demolition, including court injunction, but he failed to do so, until the structure was brought down.

Source: The  Nation

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