By Dennis Agbo
The Obeagu and Ndiagu Amechi-Uwani Awkunanaw communities in Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State, have pleaded with the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, ECTDA, to shelve its planned demolition of over 200 houses in Enugu Lifestyle and Golf City, otherwise known as Centenary City.
ECTDA had issued last notice for demolition of the houses in the estate after a court order was given in the resolution of the protracted land dispute, which its Certificate of Occupancy, C of O, was revoked in 2019, by the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi administration but restored after litigation.
The communities, however, objected that they were not joined in the suit, even when they applied to be joined, insisting that the ‘consent judgment’ between the state government and the private developer, Private Estates International West Africa Limited, was a travesty of justice, when the indigenous owners of the disputed land were barred from being parties in the litigation.
The communities are contending that since the initial 318 hectares of land mapped for permanent site of Anambra State University of Science and Technology, ASUTECH, in 1982, was no longer used for the purpose it was meant, the land should return to the Awkunanaw communities.
During a protest at estate, yesterday, the indigenous land owners, chanted songs with masquerades and placards, some of which read: ‘No going back in reclaiming our land’, ‘Enugu State government should know we have no other land’, ‘We cannot run away from our home’, ‘Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority should obey court order in suit No E/306/2022,’ among others.
Leader of the Ndiagu Amechi-Uwani Awkunanaw protesting group, Chief Sunday Nnaji, maintained that all the buildings ECTDA marked for demolition in their ancestral home were duly approved by the government agency, adding that the state government had ulterior motive in it’s planned demolition of their native homeland.
On the other hand, the traditional ruler of Obeagu Awkunanaw community, HRH Igwe Mike Nnukwu, lamented that even his palace would be affected in the demolition exercise, if the state government makes good its treat.