Residents who own properties in Enugu State’s Centenary City are grappling with losses after the state’s Capital Territory Development Authority initiated the demolition of their homes.
Task force officials from the ECTDA reportedly carried out the demolition exercise, destroying several buildings within the estate.
Several weeks prior, the state government had issued notices to residents, highlighting that a significant number of structures lacked the necessary building permits and government approval. However, residents expressed shock when task force officials arrived with bulldozers and commenced the demolition without adequate time for compliance.
Mr. Chimezie Peter, a resident claiming ownership of a building in the estate, lamented the swift action, stating that over 100 buildings, including uncompleted and nearly completed structures, were demolished. He expressed disbelief at the government’s actions, especially after investing millions since 2019 to develop the property.
Online, affected homeowners shared video clips on various platforms, decrying the government’s decision and asserting they possess all the required documents. Amechi Ahamefula on Facebook argued that the government’s narrative of lacking legal papers is untrue, emphasizing that the Centenary Estate itself was approved by the government.
Mr. Dan Nwomeh, Senior Special Assistant on Media to Enugu State Governor Peter Mbah, defended the recent enforcement operation, stating that it involved the demolition of a kidnappers’ den and illegal structures. He emphasized adherence to the rule of law and the aim of curbing unauthorized developments within the capital territory.
Executive Chairman of ECTDA, Uche Anya, in a statement titled “Centenary City: ECTDA Waging War on Criminality and Illegal Developers,” justified the demolition as an effort to combat criminal activities. Anya highlighted the discovery of a kidnappers’ den, sophisticated surveillance equipment, recovery of arms, and the arrest of suspected criminals during the operation.
Amid the controversy, netizens on social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, criticized the government’s decision to demolish properties, questioning the justifications provided. Enugu Town Crier suggested alternative measures such as regularizing the structures and providing a feasible timeline for completion.
In response to the public’s reaction, the government reiterated its commitment to upholding the rule of law and preventing unauthorized developments within the capital territory. Residents affected by the demolition continue to seek clarification and recourse for their losses.