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Demolition: Mixed Reactions Trail Enugu Govt Action As 2 Banks Affected


(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Mixed reactions have continued to trail the demolition  of structures both legal and illegal, including two Commercial Banks at the popular Holy Ghost axes of Enugu, city, by the state government, which is proposing the massive area for Enugu Modern terminal station.

Our correspondent writes that the demolition exercise commenced at the weekend as heavy earth moving machines were rolled into the once busy area where several transport companies, including First City Monument bank, FCMB, Ecobank, Red Cross, among others were  located  and brought the facilities down amid mixed reactions.

While some residents applauded the state government for the proposed terminal station, saying it will go a long way in bringing a lasting solution to the aged long traffic jam around the area as well boost the state internally Generated Revenue IGR, others condemned it in all ramifications.

Those against the project who craved anonymity while speaking to our Correspondent, argued that the timing was absolutely wrong, insisting that it is inhuman to demolish people’s source of livelihood at this  period of economic hardship in Nigeria, when people are facing untold suffering without compensation.

One of them, who gave his name as Mr. Paul  Okafor, a graduate of Business Administration from the Enugu state University of Science and Technology ESUT, said “the government should always apply human face when carrying out certain policies and programmes, especially when such decisions will negatively affect the poor masses who gave the political leaders the mandate to serve.

He alleged that the compensation claim by government is not completely true because  “I have a brother whose shop was demolished with goods valued millions of naira in that place, and no body has given a dime as i speak to you”

“If I may also ask? Why should this terminal station be a top most priority to the Enugu state government, whereas there are numerous other sectors that are demanding for intervention, such as the health sector.

“My brother, as Journalists, just make time to go to Parkland hospital Enugu and see things for yourself. No good medical facilities, infact, that place is just a glorified Clinic and not a teaching hospital.

” Last time I took my son to that hospital, I was shocked when they told me that their Xray machine has not been functioning for quite a long time, that I should go elsewhere to run the test” So, these are areas our governor and his government should address and focus on, before going into terminal station.

Transport Interchange will be completed within 12 months

But speaking with newsmen on Saturday, the Enugu State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Obi Ozor dismissed the insinuation that the state government is yet to compensate occupants of the buildings “at Holy Ghost axis being demolished to give way for the proposed Terminal Station.

He said  that the state government had already relocated the former occupants of the area, adding that adequate compensations had been paid.

The Commissioner stated that the Enugu Modern Transport interchange would be completed within 12 months, disclosing that in addition to the Holy Ghost Terminal, the bus stations are to be built in three other locations in the state namely: Gariki, Abakpa and Nsukka.

He said ” Governor Peter Mbah’s administration had successfully relocated the occupants of the buildings, including various businesses and banks, after compensations were paid to the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), who are the owners of the land and who in turn, duly compensated the occupants of the place to give way for the modern transport interchange.”

 “Enugu Central Station is a dual terminal that will focus on inter-state transportation for terminal 1, and intra-city transportation for terminal 2. The essence of the terminals is to give the state a face-lift, create employment opportunities and reduce crime in the state.”

Ozor further explained that  “The land here is owned by the Nigerian Railway Corporation and leased to 29 key legal tenants to the NRC on an average of 10 to 25 years leases.

“The Enugu State government has reached an agreement with the NRC and the Federal Ministry of Transportation to lease this place for the construction of the proposed terminal.

“We have paid compensation to all legal occupants except a few others who are yet to send their details to the government”.

According to him, “We started this journey in September 2023 by engaging all the stakeholders. Then, notices were given on 13th of October, 2023. We have now come in to clear the place for the commencement of the project.

The Commissioner added that “We hope that the work will commence this month. We have a total of four terminals, one each in Enugu, Abakpa, Gariki and Nsukka while phase two will involve places like 9th Mile” he hinted.

 


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