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Controversy As Ugwuanyi Orders Closure Of Popular Liberty Estate Shopping Center In Enugu

   … .Ask Tenants To Leave  Within 24 Hours.

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Residents and shop owners of a Shopping Center at the Liberty Estate Phase 1, Independence Layout Enugu, have expressed dismay over the closure of the shopping center in the Estate by the state government.

The Estate which was developed by the administration of former governor of the state, Barr. Sullivan Chime is managed by the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation (ESHDC).

The residents, who craved  anonymity why speaking with Newsmen, wondered why the State Government decided to close the shopping center.

This shopping center, also known as Liberty Center, was part of the original design of the Estate created by the Ex Gov Sullivan Chime’s administration in 2010.

The facility has recreational facilities including a gym, swimming pool, grocery, boutiques, hair salons and halls for residents of the Estate .

According to a resident, “why should the Government want to demolish this beautiful center where we purchase our basic amenities.

“There are other offices like hotels, law offices and others in the estate and we have never had any security breakdown in the Estate.

“The shopping center is the beauty of the Estate and it’s secured and clean”.

Another resident and retiree expressed disappointment that the State Government would pull down the Center which had served the Estate in many ways.

“This is the only place where I get most of my basic amenities as I can’t go out all the time to shop.

“Almost everything I need is in the shopping Center. We have a gym, barbing salon, sit out and a supermarket. What else do I need again?” the septuagenarian lamented.

Some of the tenants said they were still wondering why the government decided to close the shopping center.

“We have never constituted any form of problem to the residents and whenever they complain about any issue, we quickly address it.

“We meet with the residents association occasionally to look into issues of concern.

“We are appealing to Gov Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to please come to our aid as this is the only place we get our source of income,”.

The tenant said that they were given only 24 hours from Feb. 21 to Feb. 22, 2023, being the eve and peak of elections, to vacate the premises adding that they had no other place to go to. 

They  lamented that all efforts to renew their rents has been frustrated by the Management of Enugu State Housing as they have vehemently refused to issue them Demand notice to make payment for their tenancy.

“We can’t even get shops at this austere period where prices of almost everything have skyrocketed.

They had earlier threatened us with a quit notice during the peak of the COVID-19 in 2020 and we pleaded with them to enable us recover from the lockdown occasioned by the pandemic.

Some of the tenants who bought their own shops were also asked to vacate without any refund.

Also, some of the residents are concerned why Enugu State Housing is more concerned to favour some interest groups that are pushing tirelessly for the closure of the Centre at the expense of the general public interest and that of the residents.

The tenants noted that the security concerns being pushed as the reasons for the closure of the Center is pure pretext as hotels and other businesses are still open to the general public. 

The tenants further claimed that they have their own internal security apparatus to ensure the Center runs smoothly and are ever ready to synergies with Estate Security to ensure that security is not breached.

 Most of the  residents interviewed preferred setting up Code of Conduct for tenants of the Centre than outright closure of the Estate only to favor those who want to gain one thing or the other from the closure.

They further lamented that all efforts to appeal to their conscience to reconsider their decision  has landed on deaf ears.

Efforts to speak with the Managing Director of ESHDC Mr. Chukwuemelie Lambert Agu was unsuccessful, as his mobile  cellphone could not go through. 

Meanwhile, investigation by our Correspondent revealed that the outing governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi led government has concluded plans to demolish the structures at the Centre and use the space for the  development of expensive  Residential Buildings  to be sold to wealthy and government officials. 

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=85538

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