Labour Party Attacks Enugu Governor Over Demolition

Labour Party LP 1

The governorship candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general election in Enugu State, Chijioke Edeoga, Wednesday, decried the demolition of some structures in some parts of the state despite some court order restraining such.

Edeoga via his X handle described the exercise as “sudden gatherings of sorrows, tears, and blood” as the government “embarks on an unprecedented demolition of parks, markets, and private property”. Edeoga likened the demolition to “a predetermined despotic dispatch that jettisoned sensitivity to humanity and the rule of law”.

Our correspondent reports that there were demolition exercises carried out at Enugu metropolis leading to the levelling of Our Saviour Institute of Science and Technology owned by foremost Catholic priest, Rev Fr Dr Emmanuel Edeh, who also owns Madonna University.

Aside it, government bulldozers also demolished structures in Enugu South and Enugu North where the New Enugu City is being built.

THE WHISTLER reported yesterday that major parts of the popular Ogige Market at the University of Nigeria community of Nsukka have been marked for demolition, forcing the traders to embark on unplanned evacuation of their wares.

Edeoga said, “Interestingly, the Enugu State government extended its long fingers of impunity to Our Saviour’s Institute of Science and Technology (OSISATECH) belonging to Rev Fr Emmanuel Edeh despite a court order obtained to prevent the school’s demolition.”

Accusing the Mbah administration of insensitivity to public sentiment and disdainful of the rule of law, Edeoga said, “It is scary that a government that swore to uphold the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is routinely disobeying court orders.”

He further alleged that some of the demolished businesses were recently compelled to “pay huge taxes and levies”, adding that, “It is curious that the Enugu State government waited until it had collected these levies and taxes before destroying the sources of those funds.”

He, however, admitted that some of the demolished areas constituted challenges of congestion, thus due for urban renewal, but argued that “it must be recognized that no urban renewal activity has ever happened in one fell swoop”.

Quoting him, “Development, especially as it affects urban renewal, is an incremental activity that takes cognizance of impacts on persons and businesses. A government that is genuinely focused on renewal approaches such changes with the well-being of the people as its priority.”

He expressed concerns that the state embarked on the demolition without consultations with the people and communities affected, noting that, “More serious is the fact that there was no plan for relocation of those businesses to other locations before the demolition.”

Our correspondent gathered that some of the demolished areas as well as the planned Ogige Market would be used for ultra-modern parks.

Edeoga stated that, “What nobody has established is how a motor park was considered more important than the sources of livelihood of thousands of people. There were two more viable options open to the government: either relocating the markets and businesses in those areas to another location if the motor parks must be at the heart of the city or building the garages on the outskirts of the city.”

He expressed worries over the plights of the affected people, and urged the state government to take immediate steps to ease the burdens of all the people displaced by the demolition, suggesting building new markets to accommodate all the people, and allocation of the shops at no cost to them.

He also urged the state to conduct a census of all the victims, and pay due compensation to them. He called for the respect to court orders and engaging actively with the people on some government policies in the interest of democracy.