The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) says it will investigate allegations of illegal demolition of property in Enugu State. Southeast Zonal Coordinator of the Commission, Mrs. Uche Nwokocha said yesterday that the agency has received petitions from individuals regarding how their residential buildings were pulled down at the Ngenevu and Bunker areas allegedly by officials of the state government.
She stated that about 15 buildings were affected, adding that the bulk of those laying the claims had lived there for a long time. “We feel there is need to investigate these claims so as to put the matter to rest. It is a problem that has lingered since last year when a company said to have purchased the place moved in to develop the property.
In doing this, we will invite the State Commissioner of Police, Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice as well as officials of the Enugu Capital Development Authority to ensure fair hearing,” she said.
Nwokocha added that the commission would next week visit the disputed area for an on-the-spot assessment of the veracity of the claims, adding that the commission would do her best to ensure justice to all parties involved in the matter.
One of the property owners, Mrs. Elizabeth Eke, said that the buildings were allegedly demolished by the owners of a pharmaceutical firm who claimed to have bought over the property. Eke said the structures were dully registered with the State Ministry of Lands and Urban Development, adding that the demolished structures were inhabited mostly by widows, farmers, low-income earners and retirees.
She alleged threat to lives of residents of the area by private security guards employed by the company. The company was said to have bought the property from the Bureau for Public Enterprises as part of the assets of the defunct Nigeria Coal Corporation.