Holy Ghost Bus Terminal: Jubilation as Govt Pays Compensation to Business Owners, Provides Alternative Locations

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Following the town-hall meeting conveyed by the Enugu State Government through the Ministry of Transportation with the property and business owners at the Nigerian Railway Corporation’s land over 8 months ago, which activated a series of negotiations and discussions on the proposed development of a world-class Transport Interchange (Enugu Central Station), alongside other innovative facilities at the Holy Ghost axis. Fulfilling its promise, which marked a significant milestone, the state government has commenced the payments of considerable compensations to the affected property and business owners.

Some of the jubilant beneficiaries, who confirmed payments on Monday, said the state government had, in addition to monetary compensations, also provided temporary locations for them to carry on their businesses pending the completion of the project.

This initiative, according to the beneficiaries, underscores the government’s commitment to transform and remodel the transportation sector, decongest traffic in the state capital and make it one of the leading transportation systems in Africa that would also allow them the right to carry on their businesses in the facilities.

“I just received confirmation from my bank notifying me about the clearance of a huge sum of money from the Enugu State Government. At first, I thought it was the usual scam from internet fraudsters until I visited the bank.”

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“We have already relocated to the temporary site provided for us by the state government after we were notified by the railway corporation authority that the state government had taken the land in the overriding public interest.”

“I want to thank Governor Peter Mbah for the compensation. I didn’t believe that the government would even do anything,” a transport owner who simply identified himself as Mr. Udoka Aku said.

Another business owner, Chief Ignatius Okpara, who said the Railway Property Management had leased some portion of its land to him for business, told our correspondent that the Enugu State Government engaged them sometime in October 2023 on its plan to construct a modern transport interchange on the land as part of its urban regeneration strategy to eliminate the traffic jams and hardships motorists face in the area as well as to address the longstanding security issues and criminal activities in that axis.

“At first, some of us were sad; however, during our discussions with the railway management and the state governor on the options available to us and the fact that compensations would be paid; we accepted it in good faith. This was followed by another letter from Railway Property Management Company Ltd, sometime this year, which came as a notice of recovery of railway land on Market Road.”

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“I had no option but to start relocating because the project is good and will benefit everyone. Besides, all of us who had property there were even given the right of first refusal after the completion of the terminal. To God be the glory, my bank reached out to me about some money that the state government was crediting to my account. I want to appreciate the governor for not abandoning us,” he stressed.

A visit to the area unveiled a concerning reality: the Railway Road and its surroundings, housing big transport companies, are now being used as hideouts for criminals and kidnappers. This alarming development calls for urgent intervention from the government.

Some of the business owners who spoke to our correspondents said they received notice of recovery from the government over 7 months ago. Despite this, they have continued operating their businesses as they perceived that the government was unprepared to take action.

“Yes, we were invited by Governor Peter Mbah for discussion. We were about 29 in number, including Onitsha South Transport Company, Anaocha South Mass Transit, Chisco Transport Company, Farm Associates Limited, Dozzy Oil Limited, A.C. Decanal Limited, Harco Oil, Nigerian Red Cross, Pilgrimage Sisters (Osisatech), Okeyson Transport Limited, MDS Logistics, FCMB, Ecobank and others, and we had fruitful discussions as the state government gave us the right of first refusal and other compensations. I’m still here because I feel I will easily switch to my new place any time the government comes.”

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One of the transport managers who spoke to our correspondent said that the Chairman of Chisco Transport Ltd, Dr. Chidi Anyaegbu, who represented affected transport owners in the area, had lauded the state government for the initiative when he visited the government for further discussion on the interchange project, saying the Transport Infrastructure Project would enhance efficiency and profitability for transporters if it’s completed on time.

A middle-aged wholesale trader, Mr. Ekene Mojekwu, selling assorted wares, shared his perspective on the situation. He acknowledged the risk of remaining on the premises, noting that the evacuation notice had already expired.

Despite this, he emphasized his willingness to comply whenever the government initiates the demolition on the site.

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