Demolitions: Enugu APC Urges House Of Reps To Rescue Shop Owners, Traders

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By CHARLES ONYEKWERE, ABAKILIKI

The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Enugu State, Barrister Ugochukwu Agballah has urged the House of Representatives to set up a national public inquiry over the ongoing demolition of some markets and business outfits in the state.

Agballah made the call on Tuesday while briefing journalists after an on-the-spot assessment of properties destroyed recently by the present government opposite Holy Ghost Cathedral, Enugu.

He also called on those whose businesses were destroyed by the Governor Peter Mbah-led administration to seek redress in the court of law and make sure they got commensurate compensation.

The Enugu APC chairman pledged that the party would fully support them, pointing out that Enugu citizens should not tolerate what he described as a show of unbridled dictatorship, impunity and wickedness.

Agballah noted that the demolition of Holy Ghost/Railway/Okpara Avenue axis, Garki Market, Abakpa Market and Ogige Market in Nsukka had led to untold financial, psychological hardship on affected families and economic decline due to loss of revenue and jobs, deteriorating living conditions characterized by increased poverty, social unrest, increased crime and loss of goods and services.

He urged the Enugu State Governor not to demolish other planned areas marked for demolition, stating that the government must carry out a cost-benefit analysis before embarking on a destructive project, if indeed, it’s for the people.

“We know that the state government will unleash its (social) media Rottweilers after every critical voice in the state, but that will not deter us from speaking from time to time. Enugu State is bigger than any one individual.

“It is important to inform you that part of modern urban renewal fundamental principles is that whenever human, economic and living development catches up with a major market or transport hub, such markets and hubs are relocated to the outskirts of the city.

“It may be necessary to inform us all here that the present Main market was cited here by colonial authorities in 1929 because here was the outskirts of Enugu in those days.

“Even the New market was sited in 1975 to its present site which again was deliberately positioned at the entrance of the city, so it is obvious the current government is not genuine in its schemes and project.

“When the then government in 1975 wanted to pull down and rebuild the Main market, they moved the traders to a relief market which is the present-day New market.

“Enugu is already bursting with population explosion, and traffic congestion and urgently needs decongestion, which means that new projects should move to new areas or satellite towns.

“Like experts counselled, Enugu State government should have known that the focus of modern theory and practice of development is on the development of new satellite towns as a means of much-needed urban decongestion, optimization of public utilities and ecological maximization.

“It is inconceivable for anybody to leverage on an over one-hundred-year-old colonial city, Enugu, to implement a prototype of Dubai transportation blueprint.

“Enugu had the best master plan in Nigeria, but successive PDP governors have not re-evaluated the master plan but have continuously and consistently bastardized the master plan.

“I have been an advocate of thoroughbreds with strong intellectual and moral standing elected into the office of the Governor of Enugu State. The people should not be elected on the basis of wealth acquisition.

“Nowhere in the world do you carry out such projects without implementing the principles of (T.O.D) otherwise called Transit Oriented Development, which is aimed at bringing all commercial activities, buildings, public space together and connecting them to a near excellent transit service to every part of the city.

“If the principles of T.O.D had been implemented the government would not even think of building the biggest transportation hub opposite the biggest market in the city. This will lead to congestion and a calamitous traffic bottleneck

“The people of Enugu State must condemn these nefarious acts and use constituted means to stop the perennial grabbing of people’s land by the present government.

“We call on the House of Reps to invoke its powers to set up an administrative panel of inquiry to stop this land grabbing scheme and make sure commiserate compensation is paid to not only land owners of destroyed properties but also those whose businesses were destroyed.

“It is important that a national public inquiry be set by the House of Reps to stop the impunity going on in Enugu and make sure that the governor is held responsible for desecrating the constitutional rights of the citizens to own property and carry on their lawful businesses,” he declared.

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