Enugu State Gov’t Explains Demolition of Illegal Structures, Criminal Hideout

Enugu State Gov’t Explains Demolition of Illegal Structures, Criminal Hideout

Vows to protect investors’ interest, rights

Police arrest suspected kidnappers, recover 8 riffles, surveillance gadgets

The Enugu State government has refuted trending videos of alleged indiscriminate demolition of properties at the Enugu Lifestyle and Golf City, also known as Enugu Centenary City, saying it only demolished illegal and uncompleted structures, among them buildings, which served as kidnappers’ hideout, stressing that it was yet to demolish any of the unapproved but completed and or occupied properties in the area.

The government said the action of the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA) in collaboration with security agencies underscored its commitment to the security of lives and property and protection of investments and contracts with investors.

This was even as the Enugu State Police Command announced the arrest of three suspected kidnappers and recovery of arms and ammunitions following a tip-off by ECTDA.

The Commissioner for Information, Enugu State, Mr. Aka Eze Aka, and the Executive Chairman, ECTDA, Hon. Uche Anya, made this known while conducting reporters around the demolished structures located deep in the forest of the Centenary City located at Obeagu/Amechi Akwunanaw in Enugu South LGA.

Speaking to reporters, Eze said: “What we saw in the trending video today was an attempt by the originators to demarket Enugu State as an investment destination for Real Estate development. But in reality the operation by ECTDA and the security agencies was a testament that government is resolved to rid the state of criminal elements and protect property rights and investments in the state.

“In this instance, you are all aware of the distance we travelled from the city to get to this place. The culprits did not only erect the structures without any title and approval, they got inside this place pretending to be a block industry, whereas as you can see, they were into nefarious activities.”

On the allegations made by a content creator on the social media, the Commissioner said: “When the person, who was on the video began to talk about trying to destroy his house and so on, it is important to state that not one single building that has been earmarked for demolition was touched because we also have a human feeling to allow these houses for them to be regularised. They just went about to recycle old videos where some properties were destroyed by past administrations.

“It is also funny that the young man has been brandishing a mere Deed, which cannot be an approval to build.”

We won’t succumb to blackmail- ECTDA

The ECTDA Chairman, Uche Anya, however, said the agency would not “succumb to blackmail, including recycling and trending of videos of past demolitions.”

“It is apposite to state that the action of the ECTDA in Centenary City is Rule of Law at work.

“The ECTDA Law prohibits carrying out any development or municipal service within the Capital Territory without the written approval of the Authority. For the avoidance of doubts, Section 13 (1) of the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority Law, 2009, provides: ‘Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, as from the commencement of this Law, no person or body shall carry out any development or municipal service within the Capital Territory, unless such development or municipal service has been approved in writing by the Authority.’

“However, whereas the current ECTDA leadership is determined to stop unauthorised developments and carry on with the urban masterplan restoration and renewal process, including those initiated by successive administrations, we took the initiative to mark the affected properties in October 2023, issuing notices that should accord the developers a window to regularise their titles/properties, if any.

“For emphasis, even though the notices had since expired, no unapproved but completed or occupied building was demolished during the exercise by ECTDA. We are still calling on the developers to do the right thing.

“Meanwhile, it is to be made clear that the ECTDA operation of Friday, January 19, was based on an intelligence report about an illegal development/property that served as kidnappers’ den at the Centenary City. In the course of our due diligence, we also found out that the property, like many others at Centenary City, had no title or approval from the appropriate authorities.

“Although the building was not fully completed, the criminals had already mounted sophisticated surveillance equipment such as CCTV cameras, PTZ cameras, in addition to about two dozens of mobile phones denoting the dangerous level of sophistication.

“As some of the videos already in public domain clearly show, we made some chilling discoveries on storming the property with security operatives, including several guns and suspected kidnappers, whom the security agents were able to apprehend.

Police arrest suspected kidnappers

Meanwhile, the Enugu State Police Command says it arrested three kidnap suspects and recovered arms at the demolished property.

A statement by its spokesman, DSP Daniel Ndukwe, on Saturday, read: “Acting on credible information made by ECTDA), Enugu State Police Command’s Operatives serving in Enugu Area Command raided a criminal hideout in the Centenary City area of Obeagu/Awkunanaw community in Enugu South LGA on Friday, January 19, 2024.

“The operational exercise led to the arrest of three male suspects, namely: Emmanuel Nwabundo aged 39, Emmanuel Eze aged 35, and Anthony Onoche George aged 30, while others escaped. Eight (8) pump action guns with four (4) live and twenty-six (26) expended cartridges were recovered.

“Other exhibits recovered include one (1) machete, four (4) units of solar-powered CCTV cameras, thirteen (13) assorted phones, one (1) DVD player, and four (4) bags and clothes, all suspected to be stolen. Also recovered are objects suspected to be charms.

“A preliminary investigation conducted reveals that the criminal elements and cohorts at large have been using the location as a hideout for the design and consequent perfection of their criminal activities, including arm d robbery, kidnapping, among other crimes, within Enugu metropolis and environs.

“The suspects shall be arraigned in court once investigations are concluded.”

He quoted the Commissioner of Police, CP Kanayo Uzuegbu, as calling on the citizenry to “avail the Police of credible and actionable security information.”

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