• News - South East - Enugu
  • Updated: July 24, 2023

How Ugwuanyi Demolished Our Shops, Rendered Us Hopeless — Kenyatta Traders

How Ugwuanyi Demolished Our Shops, Rendered Us Hopeless —

Occupants of NYCN Plaza at Kenyatta Market, Enugu have revealed how their stalls were demolished by the administration of former Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi without notice and despite the matter being in court.

The President of the plaza's tenants association, Chief Luise Obi, who narrated the incident when the President of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) visited the site of the demolished structure said that six of the affected traders had died while others are hospitalized as a result of shock.

Obi said. "They came and demolished the place early in the morning without warning and asked us to vacate. Some of our members were still at home when they arrived. Some of us lost everything in our stalls. Those who could pack the little they can, lost them to hoodlums because as we rushed to remove the goods some unknown persons were busy stealing them. We lost everything.

"About six of our members are dead. Most of them died of paralysis. Most of us are like refugees. We are left with nothing. We plead that you help us to regain the means of our livelihoods. Most of us are hopeless. A good number of our members are hospitalized.

The Chairman of NYCN Enugu State Chapter, Henry Atigwe, recalled that the traders had come together to erect the structure on lease as the land belongs to the youth council.

He said that the demolition was a bid by the Enugu State government under the administration of Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to forcefully take the land from the council.

He added that they had gone to court when the government started making advances on the property but despite the matter being in court, the government went ahead to demolish the property even without notice to the traders.

"These tenants came together and built this place. They were gathered to build a befitting plaza on lease for the NYCN, but by August last year, the past government came to take the land from us. When they saw that the land use clause which they brought up was not tenable, they resorted to intimidation. 

"We went to court and even though the matter was in court, the government moved in and demolished over 500 shops. So many of the tenants are dead now. Some are paralyzed. We have been meeting the government to allow us to rebuild the place and that they should pay us compensation. The matter is now at an advanced stage at the state High Court."

In his response, the National President of NYCN, Amb. Sukubo Sara-Igbe said that though the council will not fight the state government, it was ready to employ every legal means to reclaim the property and restore the livelihood of the traders.

 "We are not going to fight the government of Enugu state physically, but we are given to use every legal means to fight. I am going to ensure that under my leadership, all properties belonging to the NYCN will remain intact. Don't be afraid, it is just a matter of time, you are going to get back your properties. 

"I also believe that the land use act has a procedure for Government to take over land which is rightfully owned by people. I am so sad that some people died because of this. That is not governance. Governance is about protecting the people and not putting them in perpetual poverty, "he said. 

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