Enugu government never acquired any property illegally, says housing commissioner
Enugu State government says it has never acquired any property illegally from any individual, group of persons, companies or corporate organisations for purposes of prosecuting its housing programme.
Reacting to a recent reported allegation said to have been brought by certain persons said to be pensioners and a company that the state government illegally acquired some property at its Legacy Estate that was published in The Guardian, the state Commissioner for Housing, Engr. Charles Asogwa, specifically said under the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, there has never been any case of acquisition of any kind of property without due process.
He lamented the allegation, saying that the “attention of the Ministry of Housing, Enugu state has been drawn to a publication, where the State Government was blamed for illegal acquisition of land belonging to pensioners and wishes to refute same as a baseless fallacy”.
Stating the position of the government, he explained that rather, the said land was freely offered to the Ministry of Housing, Enugu State by the people of Ugwunani –Abor Village in Udi Council Area of the state for purposes of development as part of the Ministry’s Legacy Estate in Enugu East Local Council of the State.
Asogwa clarified that the letter of offer of the property to the government came as “offer of parcel of land of 150 plots at Legacy layout, Enugu East Local Council” and was received by himself.
He also explained that “the letter came under the flying seal of Ugwunani Progressive Union (UPU) of Ugwunani- Abor Village in Udi Local Government Area and endorsed by the Chairman (Nnamani Charles), the Secretary (Emeka Omeh) of the UPU, and bearing the stamp and signature of the Traditional Ruler of Abor, HRH, Igwe Chukwudi Ogwudile.
“In its content, it was clearly stated by the community that the offer of the parcel of land to the state government was to enable the government to provide affordable housing scheme for the benefit of the citizenry. According to the letter, the land is situated at an existing layout called Legacy designed by the Ugwunani Community.
“This was the beginning of a journey with a lofty objective for the people of the state by the Ministry of Housing in line with its mandate. Consequently, the Ministry entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the donor Community Ugwunani Abor in order to perfect the process of acquisition”, he stated.
According to the commissioner, the state government had acted on the strength of the written request of the people of the area and later commissioned inspection of the said property.
Thereafter, he also said, the State Executive Council approved the acquisition culminating in the issuance of a yellow paper for the final acquisition of the land.
“After that, the Ministry embarked upon the clearing of the site for parceling and installation of basic infrastructure, including the provision of access road from end of Phase Six into the Estate, provision of electricity and water facilities.
“It is pertinent to note that within this time, there was not any form of agitation against the donation of the land by the Ugwunani Community from any quarter until sometime in May 2017 when the area was invaded by some angry youths identified as Ozalla Abor people.
“They had claimed ownership of some portion of the land donated by the people of Ugwunani. This was, however, refuted by Ugwunani people who tendered a judgment and agreement document between HRH Igwe Julius Nnaji in favour of Ugwunani Community from a High Court”, he further explained, quoting the people of Ugwunani as maintaining that the issue of ownership of the said land had ceased to be in dispute since1958.
“At no time had anybody mentioned the stake of the pensioners in that land as purported in the publication. The Legacy layout was officially handed over to Enugu State Government for acquisition and further development by the rightful owners, the Ugwunani Abor Community in 2015 as approved by the Traditional Ruler of Abor Community, HRH Igwe Ogwudile in Udi Local Government Area.
“It is very important at this point to mention that the state government under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi in accordance with the Four-Point Development Agenda, had the good intention to provide affordable housing schemes for the benefit of all classes of people in the state”, he said.
According to the Commissioner: “The Ministry of Housing has been charged with the responsibility to ensure the realization of this policy objective through peaceful acquisition of land in any part of the state,
“Therefore, Enugu State government cannot be a party to forceful or illegal ownership of land belonging to anybody. It is on record that all the Ministry’s transactions regarding acquisition of land are transparent”, he maintained.
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