By Tony Adibe
An Enugu-based human Rights organization, the Civil Rights Realization and Advancement Network (CRRAN) has made a passionate appeal to the Enugu State Governor, Dr Peter Mbah to quickly stop a purported plot by some officials of the State Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources to reallocate illegally the land near Fidelity Estate, Enugu to private land developers.
The human rights body also alleged that the procurement of Court order by the government agents in the said ministry was for the purpose of land grabbing. In a petition from issued on Monday by the President of CRRAN, Olu Omotayo Esq, and made available to NewsBits, the rights organization regretted that the said government officials were fond of intimidating citizens of the state with purported frivolous court orders in order to perpetrate their dirty land deals.
Part of the petition reads: “We write to you in respect of the above-mentioned matter, concerning the nefarious activities of some officials of the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, Enugu State.
“The officials had approached the Environmental Protection Court of Enugu State presided over by His Worship H.C. Asogwa Esq. a Chief Magistrate Grade 1, vide an Ex Parte application in Suit No: EPC/E/01C/2023, Ministry of Environment and Ministry Resources , Enugu V. Onyeka Nnamoko & Other illegal Occupiers Near Fidelity Estate, Enugu.
“It disclosed that the Honorable Court granted an Ex Parte Order as per the Claim of the ministry to wit: An Order directing the defendants and his cohorts to stop commercial business on the verge of the road. An Order in the alternative directing the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources Enugu State, to sanitize the area so as to maintain environmental compliance in accordance with the mandate of the Ministry”.
“On the face of it, this Order is an innocent order of court to remove those artisans planting and selling flowers beside the road on the way towards Ebeano tunnel, almost opposite the abandoned Enugu State Diagnostics Center. Also, CRRAN, however, further claimed that “it turned out that the officials of the Ministry has a sinister motive as they invaded the area with bulldozers and labourers on Friday 9th June 2023, and started damaging the properties of the flower traders without giving them any prior notice.
“While narrating their ordeal, the Leader of the traders, Nnamoko said they were surprised that immediately after the demolition, some people started digging foundation on the land and a man who claimed to be a Developer said he wants to construct a shopping mall on the land.”
The rights group while quoting Nnamoko, added that the land in question belongs to Nigeria Railway Corporation. Omotayo said, “Your Excellency will agree with us that building any structure on that narrow piece of land will distort the master plan of that area.”
CRRAN urged Dr Mbah to take urgent necessary disciplinary action against the affected government officials who perpetrated this dastardly act. The petitioner further stated, “The Court was misled in granting the Exparte Order and the officials, thereafter, sold the narrow land to the so-called Developer who is now carrying out construction work thereat.
“Whatever structure built on that place is in grave violation of Extant Town Planning Laws of Enugu state which must be resisted by the good government of Enugu State.”
Omotayo said CRRAN is, however, encouraged by the fact that Governor Mbah had earlier, during his inaugural speech, emphasised that his administration anchored on “disruptive innovation” would not tolerate the “business as usual” syndrome.