Anambra Traders Demand N700m Compensation For Demolished Plaza

By Polycarp Ifeanyi, Onitsha

Traders belonging to the UPJA Plank and Joist Association in Bridgehead Market, Onitsha, Anambra State, are demanding a compensation of seven hundred million naira (N700m) from the Anambra State Government and Onitsha South Local Government Area for the unjust demolition of their plaza.

In a pre-action notice served to the Local and State Government in May of this year, the Market’s leadership, represented by their lawyer, C.I. Okoye of Iloegbune Okoye and Co chambers, demanded the immediate reconstruction of the plaza.

Additionally, the traders requested a payment of five hundred million naira (N500m) as the value of their destroyed trade articles. Alternatively, they proposed that the governments pay them N700m and issue a letter of apology for the malicious and overzealous actions of the Anambra State Government’s agents.

The pre-action notice, which was also sent to the Secretary to the Anambra State Government, the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, the Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, the Chairman of the Anambra State Physical Planning Board, and the Chairman of the Transition Committee for Onitsha South Local Government Area, outlined that the traders had obtained proper approvals from the Ministry of Trade and Commerce and the State Physical Planning Board (ANSPPB) for the construction of the plaza.

Furthermore, they stated that they had paid an approval fee of Five Hundred and Sixty-Six Thousand, Four Hundred Naira (N566,400) to the State Board of Internal Revenue.

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Based on these approvals, as mentioned in the notice, the traders proceeded with the construction of the one-story plaza, which was funded by contributions from the traders/members themselves.

After one year of the completion and allocation of the plaza, the Chairman of Onitsha South Local Government, Mr. Emeka Orji, in collaboration with the Anambra State Government, maliciously broke into the plaza with a bulldozer and members of the Local Government vigilant groups, proceeding to demolish the entire structure.

This act, carried out by Emeka Orji, can only be described as unconscionable, dastardly, and wicked.

Despite the presence of goods and articles belonging to traders inside the building complex, he directed and supervised the demolition of the UPJA plaza, showing a complete disregard for their livelihoods, as stated by the Traders’ Lawyer in the Pre-action notice.

It is important to emphasize that the primary role of government is to protect the lives and properties of its citizens, not to destroy them, as demonstrated by the conduct of the State Government in this case.

Furthermore, Chief Emmanuel Obunso, the chairman of UPJA, has alleged that Orji and his associates not only demolished the plaza but also looted the materials and sold them as scraps.

Among the items taken were iron rods, roofing sheets, blocks, aluminum, and various goods belonging to the traders whose businesses were destroyed during the demolition.

This incident highlights a clear violation of trust and a breach of duty by those in positions of power.

The affected traders have suffered significant losses, both financially and emotionally, due to the actions of Mr. Emeka Orji and the Anambra State Government.

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It is imperative that a thorough investigation be conducted to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

The affected traders deserve justice and compensation for the damages inflicted upon them.

The government must take immediate steps to rectify this situation and ensure that such acts of destruction and looting are never repeated.



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