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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

17 years after I legally acquired my property, Enugu Govt orders me to vacate without reasons -Businessman

A businessman, Ihekwoaba Livingston Uzoho, has alleged that there are plans by the Enugu State Government to demolish his house and reallocate his land to a former Governor of Ebonyi State and Federal Minister of Works, David Umahi.

Umahi, a former senator, did not respond to enquiries on the issue.

Showing journalists the property located at No. 6. Ozubulu Street Independence Layout, marked with red inks with the inscription: “Remove Immediately by ECTDA/DC/IS/001 20.6.2024” Uzoho said he procured it legally and had been living in it since 2007.

Wondering what offence he might have committed to warrant the government’s decision to issue eviction notice without providing any reason, he asked where they expect him to go with his family of nine.

Lamenting the trauma he and his family had been going through, he wondered whether it was a crime to acquire a property in Enugu State capital, even as he maintained that he could not have carried a house from Imo State, where he came from, to Enugu State.

He narrated: “I bought this place, No. 6, Ozubulu Street, Independence Layout, Enugu, in 2007. I bought it because it has genuine documents, ranging from the certificate of occupancy (C of O), building plan and all the necessary documents.

“So, sometime last year, the Honourable Minister of Works, David Umahi, came to this place to assess the land behind my property. They snapped pictures and made videos. After that, they came out here and gave out N200,000 to some people here and told them that they would be taking over the place.

“The next day being Monday, the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA) came to mark my building. Initially, one of them told me that my security house would be removed. And they marked it for removal.

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“The next day, I went to their office and they told me to produce all my documents, which I provided for them. But, they said I should go and that I would hear from them. All this happened in November last year.”

Uzoho explained that since November when he submitted all his documents to the government authority, till date the authority has not communicated with him.

Expressing concerns that the government will throw him and his family out in the street without any justification, he said, “I approached my lawyer, who advised that we take legal action since the government had refused to say anything to me.

“So, we went to court. As a matter of fact, we were in court last month and the matter was adjourned to July 26.

“To my greatest surprise, I was in my house here yesterday, 20th of June, when some people told me that Dave Umahi was here with his police. But before I could come out, he had left.

“One of the workers in the site approached me and told me that my entire house has been marked for demolition to enable government reallocate it to former Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi.

“Since yesterday, I have been wondering the offense I committed for living in Enugu, such that my house, where I live with my family, could be marked for demolition by the government.

“They said that my house would go down any moment from now.

“Since then, I have been trying to reach them to give me reasons for wanting to demolish my house, but nobody is ready to listen to me.

“That’s why I am speaking out through the media. Please, Governor Peter Mbah should not allow his government to treat me like this.

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“The Enugu State Government should leave my property alone. I didn’t acquire it illegally. I didn’t do anything wrong to live in Enugu. I’m staying here with my family. If they chase me out of here, where will I run to? This country is hard now; everybody knows that.

“Because of this sad news, none of my children went to school today and as I’m talking to you, none of them has eaten anything since today because they don’t know what would become of our resident the next moment. They’re really scared.

“Senator David Umahi should also leave my building alone. He should remember that nothing is permanent in life. I bought this place before he became the governor of Ebonyi State and now minister. I’m pleading with him to leave us alone.”

Reacting to the allegations, the executive chairman of the ECTDA, Uche Anya, advised the businessman to come to his office with all relevant documents relating to the property.

On the report that the government was intending to reallocate the said land to Minister David Umahi, he denied any such knowledge.

Anya said, “I don’t know who is Dave Umahi; I’ve never met him before. So, there’s nothing like that, please”.

All attempts to get reactions from Senator Umahi was unsuccessful, as he busied his line when our correspondent called him.

He also did not respond to the text messages sent to his phone line.

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