As the ongoing demolition of illegal structures in Onitsha, Anambra State, continues, some affected landlords have been lamenting and recounting their losses.
Onitsha Landlords Protest Ongoing Building Demolition, Recount Loses
The demolition, which began on Thursday, generated some controversies between the Pastor of the Mountain of Holy Ghost Intervention and Deliverance Ministry, Prophet Chukwuemeka Ohanemere, also known as Odumeje, and some members of the Anambra State Task Force in charge of the exercise.
Some members of the task force had a faceoff with the pastor as they demolished some parts of the church’s building that encroached on the water channel.
When our correspondent visited the area on Sunday, he observed that some portions of another church, St Dominic Catholic Church, had been touched.
It was gathered that the perimeter fence, toilet building and few other make-shift structures were pulled down by the task force.
However, the church building was not touched, but there is fear that the demolition will continue tomorrow, according to inside church sources.
When contacted, the Parish Priest, Rev. Father Evaristus Nwagbara, confirmed the demolition, saying, “They said that they would continue the demolition in the church premises tomorrow, being Monday.
“So, on Monday we will know what they are up to again, but some structures were touched already. Like the toilet, fence of the church and even that of the grotto.”
Another landlord in Bida Road, Fegge, who identified himself as Titus Oyendi, whose structure was also marked for demolition, expressed deep concern that the three months notice was too short as they were caught unawares.
Oyendi said his late father built the house for over 20 years ago and has since been living there with other tenants before he passed on.
He lamented that they paid huge sum of money to acquire the land and other necessary documentations, which, according to him, were given approval by an agency of government.
He urged the relevant agencies to look into the matter with a view to sanctioning the “government workers and agencies who gave the approval” in the first place.
One of the affected landlords, Sunday Ijenwa, said no one could stop the government from carrying out the exercise as it was targeted towards developing and giving the area a modern look, but the government should consider those that might be rendered homeless and see what it could do about it.
Ijenwa urged the state government to look into the plight of those that might be displaced as a result of the “sudden” exercise.
“Although notices were served and meetings held, the three months notice was definitely too short. Since they have started the exercise, there is nothing one can do, we just wait till the end and see if there is anything left for us,” he added.
When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Christian Aburime, said there was no compensation for illegal structures.