line with Abia state governor’s desire to fulfill his promises of good governance, about 130 buildings will be pulled down from Ossah junction to Opkara square to give way for a proposed 6 lane modern road.
The governor, Alex Otti had recently announced the start of compensation payments to property owners who would be affected by the Ossah road expansion project. This said road serves as the main entrance to Umuahia, the state’s capital
Mr. Chika Chukwumerije, the Commissioner for Lands and Survey, disclosed during a town hall meeting that the expansion project would affect 130 structures. The owners of these properties have already been identified and their compensation amounts have been negotiated with the help of attorneys and government-appointed consultants.
The Commissioner assured that any oversights would be addressed and urged those who did not receive payment to come forward. Despite initial plans to pay compensation in tranches, the Governor has approved full payment to expedite the process. The payments are being managed by the state’s Accountant General.
The Government initially intended to start the expansion project before compensating the affected property owners. However, after appeals from the community, the plan was revised to pay the compensation first. The Commissioner urged residents to cooperate and remove their belongings from the affected structures, as demolition will commence soon.
It was also revealed that property owners who did not possess a Power of Attorney or Certificate of Occupancy would also be compensated. This decision was taken into account due to the ancestral nature of most of the affected buildings.
Mr. Ugochukwu Emezue, the former Commissioner for Documentation, thanked the government for the compensation but requested additional time for property owners to relocate after receiving payment.
Mr. Chukwumereije went further to explaine that after receiving their compensations, every property owner will be required to come back to the Ministry of Lands “for documentation” to prevent future claims.
The communities mostly affected include;
Ossah, Umuoriehi, Mgbaja, and Amankwo, all traversed by the road leading from the “Tower of Peace” along Umuahia axis of Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway to Okpara Square in the capital city. Ossah people however, have been deliberating the issue with some worried that the proposed site is an ancestral land, hence, asking people to move very challenging
The commissioner for lands, the General Manager, Umuahia Capital Development Authority (UCDA), Mr. Kingsley Agomoh, and a representative of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice were on hand to ensure that the people are clarified and are well educated on the importance of the policy.