Posted by Pamela Eboh, Nnewi | 29 May 2013 | 3,747 times
A family of 15 living in a duplex in Anambra State, South-East Nigeria, has been rendered homeless following the demolition of the family’s only house by the Anambra State Urban Development Board (ASUDEB).
ASUDEB said the building erected on Udogu Street in Abubor Nnewi-ichi was an illegal structure.
The owner of the house, Chief Innocent Nwajidenze, a trader at Nkwo Nnewi market, said he returned from the market with his apprentices only to discover that his house had become rubble.
Nwajidenze said he met his five children who had earlier returned from school, as well as his wife and their relations living with them outside the compound crying for help.
He said on enquiry he was told that a combined team of the police, ASUDEB authorities and artisans with heavy demolishing equipment broke into his house in the afternoon hours when everybody had gone out and destroyed his house.
“They knocked off the padlock at the gate, pulled down the fence, before they gained entrance into the compound,” he said. “They broke open the walls of the house and gained access to the sitting and living rooms at the ground floor which we were using pending the completion of some remaining fittings upstairs.
“Properties in the living and sitting rooms, including television sets and air-conditioners, were destroyed and I could not see the money I kept in my house.”
Nwajidenze admitted being invited by the Town Planning Authority in Nnewi North Local Government Area sometime ago to come and register his building. He said he agreed to do so but pleaded with them to give him some time to get money for the registration.
Though Nwajidenze is not from Nnewi town, he said he bought the land and duly paid for it before he started erecting the building and that he also has his Certificate of Occupancy. He wondered why he should be rendered homeless with his large family.
Speaking with News Express, an official of ASUDEB in Nnewi said that Nwajidenze did not have ASUDEB approval before erecting the building.
“Notice of stop work had been served on that building severally which he ignored. As far as ASUDEB is concerned, there is no structure there,” the man said.
Defending the demolition of the house, the ASUDEB official said: “We served him a notice to come to our office under 14 days. And the 14 days expired we did not see him. So we were left with no other option than to act according to the law. Our actions are backed up by Section 2 (1) of Anambra State Urban Development and Building Regulations Law 2003.”
•Photo shows Mr. Nwajidenze standing in front of the demolished building.
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