Edeoga says Enugu government demolitions scary, unconstitutional

Thu, May 23, 2024
By editor


… calls for compensation of victims

THE governorship candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 elections in Enugu State, Barr Chijioke Edeoga has described as scary and unconstitutional, the gale of demolitions recently carried out by the Enugu State Government in some parts of the state.

Edeoga who accused the state government under the administration of Governor Peter Mbah of disobeying court orders and usurping the constitutional powers of local government areas, said demolishing people’s places of business without plans for alternative places will increase the suffering of the people.

Recall that the Enugu State Government recently demolished many parts of Enugu. The demolitions that affected the Holy Ghost transport hub in the state capital and the Ogige Markt in Nsukka, among other places embarked upon to build standard motor parks in the affected areas.

But in a statement he issued on Thursday morning, the Labour Party governorship candidate also lamented the destruction of a private polytechnic belonging to a charismatic preacher and founder of Madonna University, Rev. F. Emmanuel Ede, expressing dismay that the government went to demolish the institution of higher learning in defiance of an order of the court.

“If there have been suspicions that the administration in Enugu State is insensitive to public sentiment and disdainful of the rule of law, the demolition of OSISATECH tended to validate it. It is scary that a government that swore to uphold the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is routinely disobeying court orders,” Edeoga said in the statement.

He also lamented the demolition of a foremost hotel in Nsukka belonging to a nationalist and pre-independent politician, the late Chief Charles Abangwu saying such actions are indicative of the insensitivity of government to the plights of the people.

“The demolition of shops, a section of the Ogige Market, and Premier Hotel are also quite troubling. This is because of the dislocation of hundreds of businesses on which the livelihoods of ordinary people and their families are dependent. Interestingly, these businesses were forced, only a few months ago, to pay huge taxes and levies on those shops. It is curious that the Enugu State Government waited until it had collected these levies and taxes before destroying the sources of those funds,” the statement continued. 

Continuing the LP governorship candidate said: “While it is understood that some of those areas demolished have constituted challenges of congestion and are due for some form of urban renewal, it must be recognized that no urban renewal activity has ever happened in one fell swoop.

 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.

“This is why it raises serious concerns that the government of Enugu State began these activities without any form of consultation with the people and communities affected. More serious is the fact that there was no plan for relocation of those businesses to other locations before the demolition.”

While admitting that many parts of the state needed renewal, he wondered why government failed to make a relocation and compensation plan before demolishing the properties.

“The essence of government everywhere in the world is the aggregation of the needs of the people into a pool where common solutions are incubated; it is the building of consensus on what constitutes the common good bearing in mind the social, economic, and even personal sensitivities. Democratic legitimacy ultimately belongs to the people, and that is why everything governments do must factor in the sensitivity of all concerned. But it appears that in Enugu State, under the current administration, the government considered its needs to be higher and more important than those of the people. There is no sign clearer that the needs of the people were not considered unimportant by the government than the lack of consultation that preceded these actions. The disobedience by the government, of a court order against the demolition, is also viewed by every right-thinking member of society as inherently tyrannical,” Edeoga continued.

He called on the government to take urgent steps to compensate all the people affected by the demolitions, build new markets and accommodate them without cost, and demonstrate respect for the laws and orders of the courts.

“The Enugu State Government must take immediate steps to respect court orders as is the practice in every civilized democratic country. A culture of disrespect to the judiciary is tantamount to disloyalty to the Constitution which provides for three independent arms of government that act as checks on one another,” Edeoga concluded.


May 23, 2024