Why We Demolished Buildings in Ekwulobia – Govt

By Alexander Adejoh and Ogochukwu Nwaokafor

The Local Government Transition Chairman of Aguata, Prince Dr Chibueze Ofobuike, has given reasons why some structures were demolished in Ekwulobia to make way for the construction of a flyover.

The chairman, while reeling out the development strides of Governor Chukwuma Soludo in Ekwulobia, Tuesday, in his office at Aguata Local Government Area, told Fides that the affected residents broke the law by building very close to the main road.

‘To make an omelette, an egg must be broken,’ he noted, while explaining that the demolition was just a temporary means to meet a permanent goal of providing an easy life for the people of Ekwulobia.

He said the flyover would bring a new level of development to the town, making it an urban city and bringing in new businesses and opportunities for the people.

Despite the disruption and pain caused by the demolition, the Chairman urged the people of Ekwulobia to remain calm and have faith in Governor Soludo’s vision for the town. He assured them that the government was doing everything possible to minimize the impact on the affected residents.

Earlier, one of the affected residents, Mr Emeka Olisa, while interacting with Fides, disclosed that every progress often came at a cost and that they trusted their leaders to do what was best for the town. He said the people of the area watched as the construction crews worked tirelessly to bring the new flyover to life, eager to see what the future held for Ekwulobia.

Ahmed Musa, a tenant in one of the demolished shops at Ekwulobia Market who deals in perfumes and jewelries, told our reporter that they had been in Ekwulobia for the past thirty five years and paying shop rent at N5000 monthly but that since his shop was demolished, he had been making use of a wheel barrow to sell his goods, as an only option of sustaining his livelihood. He said that as a result of that, they were exposed to many hazards like insecurity, lack of shelter and unhealthy living due to the flying particles from the demolished buildings.

Although Musa believed that the government was doing a great job, he however called on them to provide a government owned market space after this development so that people could have shops and be paying directly to the government.

He further noted that there was a rumour that some people were compensated but said probably because he and his brothers were not Igbo they were excluded.

Collaborating Musa, the Manager, Globis Motors Limited, name withheld, said it was not the first place something like that had happened; neither would it be the last. He however thanked God that the government had remembered Ekwulobia in terms of development.

‘I am so happy because the demolition process has been going smoothly without damaging any vehicle here in our park or causing any form of accident. It’s indeed a thing of joy,’ he gushed.

Mr Igbonefu Ambrose Ifeka, a caretaker of one of the buildings affected by the ongoing demolition exercise, told Fides that the government had given them two weeks’ notice before dismantling there property and since then they had only been able to evacuate a few of their property as they were not given an opportunity to evacuate all. He further said although the government promised to compensate them, they had not heard from them yet.

‘I’m calling on the government to come fulfill its promises and also endeavour to complete the project, as it is a project of a year and six months.’

The spokesperson of AG Vision Contractors of Ekwulobia Township Flyover, whose name was undisclosed, told Fides that the project would be completed in about 12 months or so and that the government was not only working on just the flyover but would also broaden the road and make it a two-lane road for easy and faster movement of vehicles.

Affirming the compensation rumour, the National President, Afamation Movement Worldwide, Mr Afam Ezenwankwo, in an interview on the ongoing demolition in Ekwulobia, said, ‘One can’t develop a place without a cost; what soludo is doing in Ekwulobia is a welcome development.’

He added that it would help in the development of Aguata Community and that Governor Soludo would be the first governor to compensate victims of the demolition in Ekwulobia for the new Flyover Project.

‘Soludo has assured that he will compensate those victims and that he is working on it,’ he assured.