2023 GOVERNORSHIP AND
STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
Demolition of Properties in Enugu State – A statement by Frank Nweke II
January 20, 2024.
I am a keen advocate of law and order, and will always support the prerogative of the government to regulate town planning.
I also consider it the responsibility of prospective investors and property owners to make proper enquiries and ensure that they are in compliance with relevant laws and other laid down government guidelines and that properties of interest are free of legal encumbrances.
However, the raging controversy around the demolition of some properties at the Enugu Lifestyle and Golf City (Centenary City) by the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority raises a few concerns about citizen engagement and land management across the State.
1. Critical stakeholder management and sustained public communication are key elements of the policy implementation process. The flurry of communications from the government to quell the public outcry generated by video clips and statements from various individuals should have been done before any demolition was carried out.
Without these, government actions are easily perceived as clandestine and injurious to the people, further undermining trust in the government and efforts to attract investors into the State.
I hope that the importance of clear and sustained communication and stakeholder engagement is taken seriously by this administration.
2. There is a dire need for clarity about Land Management in the State. It is common knowledge that the Ifeanyi Ugwanyi administration was embroiled in controversies around land-grabbing and coercive acquisition of public lands for personal interests. The government will need to move away from this reputation by:
• Designating a leadership for the Ministry of Lands or unveiling such a leadership if it has been done.
• Digitizing the state’s land assets and,
• Ensuring effective communication of the process of application and processing land purchases in the state. Developers and investors need to be assured that their investments are protected regardless of the government in power. Government must guard against any perception of arbitrariness.
3. It is important that the government engages the aggrieved property owners and gives them a chance to be heard. They need to find ways within the ambit of the law, to normalise their documentation for the properties as suggested by the ECTDA, or provide alternatives to secure their investments. This is essential to restore confidence in developers and potential investors.
On the reported apprehension of kidnappers, I commend the government and law enforcement agencies for taking prompt action on the intelligence received about their occupation in one of the buildings. Enugu state must be rid of criminals.
I also commend the ECTDA for its commitment to ensuring adherence to town planning laws and guidelines. To make this sustainable, there needs to be an alignment between the state and local government to enforce the relevant laws and guidelines to mitigate the vicarious liability of prospective investors for the inefficiency or corruption of government institutions and officials.
Governments exist to cater to the welfare of the people. The ENSG [Enugu State Government] must therefore exercise authority with empathy, greater sensitivity and accountability in policy making and implementation.
Contents provided and/or opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of The Pacesetter Frontier Magazine or any employee thereof.
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