They built houses without approval — Official, Ministry of Lands
Govt demolished our houses against subsisting court order — Inhabitants
By Ike Uchechukwu
ETAB AYIP—RESIDENTS of Goodluck Jonathan By-pass, Etab Ayip, Kasuk II Qua Clan, Calabar Municipality, Cross River State, have again complained about illegal demolition of their houses and other structures by the state Ministry of Lands, describing it as official high-handedness.
They made their grievances known during the recent demolition of houses, shops and other buildings along the by-pass by the ministry. Inhabitants claimed that without any form of notice, a department in charge of town planning in the Ministry of Lands, demolished houses and shops more than 150 metres away from the road, saying the structures were illegally built.
Houses erected without approval: A source at the ministry, who pleaded anonymity, told NDV that the by-pass has become an area of high interest to government because of the garment factory and other signature projects sited by Governor Ayade in the area.
“The government of the day has huge investment hub in that locality, business concerns and interests has grown in that place, a lot of eyes are on the place and many of the people there built without approval, but since there is an order from the High court, it should be obeyed,” he said.
My house demolished for the second time— Ekpenyong
But, the residents dismissed the claim, saying some officials of the ministry feel that they could hide under the name of Governor Ayade to demolish houses as they wish. One of the affected residents, Mr. Godwin Ekpeyong, told NDV that this was the second time his house was demolished without notice despite the fact that he built it with approval and the structure situated more 150 metres away from the road.
“This is pure oppression, it is an affront to us, they are just using the name of the governor to intimidate us, but the truth is that there is an order from the court restraining them from carrying out any form of demolition yet they went ahead to carry out the exercise in a contemptuous manner. We are sick and tired of the ministry of lands breaking the law, yet they expect people to obey their own law by getting approval when they want to build when they cannot even obey a simple order by the court, we will not keep quiet, we shall continue to speak, we shall continue to make our voices heard, “he asserted.
It’s contempt of court— Umoh, community lawyer
Also speaking, counsel to the community, Barr. Orchardson Umoh, said, “The Cross River State government has the moral duty to obey the rule of the court, the order that was given by a competent court of jurisdiction should be obeyed. Their action is a pure contempt of court and it has happened too many times.
It is illegal, it is unjust and morally wrong for them to expect people to leave their abode without prior notice, some shops were destroyed even with wares still inside, my clients has lost a lot of money because of this but we believe that eventually the proper thing will be done.”
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