Widows, other residents cry over demolition of ancestral homes in Enugu


Residents and natives of Uzamu Isinomeh, Emene Nike in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State, among them widows, wept uncontrollably on Monday as officials of Enugu State government agency demolished their homes.

The victims, including one Ezinne Blessing Nkemjurum Oguike, a widow, told journalists that some persons, suspected to be officials from the Ministry of lands and Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, ordered the demolition of their homes.

Mrs Oguike, who hails from Imo State and spoke through his son, Chukwuebuka Oguike, said that they acquired the land, which they have been using over 62 years ago, from the ancestral owners of the land before the Akanu Ibiam International Airport was built.

The octogenarian claimed that they were not given any vacation notice or any notice of acquisition of the land by the government before the demolition exercise took place on Monday, April 29, 2024.

She claimed that they have lost over 500 million naira to the demolition.

Mrs Oguike further claimed that a former governor of the state, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had after listening to their explanations on the real owners of the land, urged them to go and do necessary documentation on the land.

She noted that after filing the necessary papers for the grant of C of O over the land, her request was approved by the governor, which approval was communicated to her via a letter dated 20/02/2024.

She further stated that she paid the assessed C of O fees of N5,832,120.12 (Five million, eight hundred and thirty-two thousand, one hundred and twenty Naira, twelve Kobo) into the Enugu State IGR and obtained receipt but was not issued with the C of O on the ground that there was order from above to stop the issuance.

Another widow and native of Uzamu Isinomeh, Mrs Eunice Agbo, whose ancestral home was also demolished, said that after the death of her husband in 1979, she took out time to get a photocopy of a map from the archives showing her late husband, Innocent Agbo, as the owner of the Ishi Nome land.

She stated that she made efforts to get the Certificate of Occupancy from the ministry of land but was told that it was not necessary because the land is their ancestral land.

“They have been disturbing me since my husband died. My husband died in 1979 and since then, they have been disturbing me.

“I have gone to the ministry of lands and archives to make inquiries and it was confirmed that the land belongs to my husband.

“I have a photocopy of the survey map of the area from the archives where the name of my husband Innocent Agbo was written as the owner of the land,” Mrs Agbo further lamented.

The widows appealed to the State Government to wade into the matter to stop them from becoming tenants or evicted from their ancestral/acquired lands.

The Enugu State government is yet to react to the claims as of the time of filing this report

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