The Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, ECTDA, has obtained a court order empowering it to demolish an alleged illegal annex of the residence to the Chancellor of Coal City University, CCU, Mr Chinedu Ani, that blocked the thoroughfare linking Onoh quarters in Ekulu GRA to Oshimili up to Enugu-Onitsha expressway.
There used to be a road that crossed Ekulu River with a hanging bridge from GRA to the Express road, but when Vanguard correspondent visited the area on Saturday, the road was terminated into Ani’s residence.
Residents who were fetching water from a public tap close to the former road said the road doesn’t exist anymore.
“If you want to go to Oshimili, you have to turn back and follow the Trans-Ekulu bridge and go through the express. The road was closed long ago. We don’t know why it was closed,” the water fetchers told Vanguard correspondent.
When contacted, Ani said: “That’s how I found it, I bought (land) from the Onohs. They sold to me and said there is no road there.
“You have to be careful in whatever you say and in whatever you are doing. Those people that are telling you to do that report are the same people that sold that place to me and said there is no road there.
“If you want to do your report do it that way, whoever that called you to do that report are the same people that sold that place to me and they are the same people that sold the bridge because I am sure you can’t jump the bridge and you have to add to your report that I tarred that place with my private money and I put up those street lights and I am paying for it.”
Vanguard investigation, however, revealed that Rockonoh Property Company limited had petitioned the ECTDA, alleging that Ani in 2015 illegally blocked the thoroughfare, adding that it had approached an Enugu high court over the matter.
Chairman/Managing Director of Rockonoh property, Mr GB Onoh told Vanguard that the matter is in the public domain. “Never mind him, these are all public documents, I’ve already taken him to court.”
In the petition to ECTDA, GB Onoh said: “Chinedu Ani’s actions, who was not even born when the bridge was constructed should in no way be condoned and should face the same fate as others like him who arrogates their individual interests over that of the masses. His illegal blockage should be brought down and the Bailey bridge restored.”
Subsequently, the ECTDA said that it had in two occasions written to Mr Ani asking him to furnish the agency with his building approval, survey plan and any other relevant document to prove that he did not contravene town planning regulation.
The agency also said that it confirmed from the state ministry of Lands and Urban Development that the road which Ani blocked exists in its record, adding that there was no dezoning that approved for closure of the access road and the natural waterway.
The agency further disclosed that it received a letter from Karastan Company limited denying the sale of any land directly to Mr Ani but to three others whom Ani bought the portions of land from to make his plot a total land area of 5,081.72 square meters in addition to another 727.720 square meters, as shown in plan No. DA/EN231/2015.
In the court order issued on December 16 by Chief Magistrate grade 1, Alex Amalu, ordered the respondent, Chinedu Ani, to open the access road linking Onoh crescent and Osimili street.
The Court said: “The respondent is ordered to open the waterway illegally acquired and annexed to his property.”
It also ordered Ani to provide the ECTDA with all approved building plan and title documents within 21 days, adding that if he has no approval, he should pay the contravention fees and violation charges to the state government within seven days.
“And the commissioner of police and Commander of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps are directed to provide security during the execution by the applicant if the respondent fails to comply with the directives of the applicant to maintain law and order at all times,” the court further ordered.
Chairman of ECTDA, Dr Josef Onoh alleged that Mr Ani had come to his office with policemen and threatened him and his workers for investigating the illegal annex and blockage of the public access road.
“But the outcome of this will now be a test for ECTDA that has been accused by even the clergy for enforcing development control on only the poor and will prove if there are separate justices between the poor and the rich.
“I’ve always been accused of selective justice but we have always tried to exercise a professional approach in all our dealings and we are not biased.
“This administration has never held selective justice between the rich and the poor but has always done to the best of our knowledge,” Onoh said.
Vanguard News Nigeria