Residents Laud Govt Continuous Engagements with Property Owners Over Terminal Stations at Abakpa, Gariki, and Nsukka

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Following continuous engagements by the Enugu State Government with property and business owners operating in government’s premises at the proposed transport interchanges in Abakpa, Gariki as well as Nsukka town, residents across the stated have lauded the government for its liberal and humane approach to dealing with members of the public.

These commendations were made as another round of townhall meeting was held with property owners regarding the new transport interchange projects at Abakpa, Gariki, and Nsukka on Monday at the Ministry of Transport, Enugu.

Hosted at the Ministry’s Conference Hall, the gathering included prominent stakeholders such as traditional rulers, members of the House of Assembly, transport operators, union leaders, captains of industry, and other property owners. This significant milestone event is part of the ongoing stakeholder engagement and public enlightenment for the Enugu State Transport Infrastructure Project (TIP).

The Commissioner of Transport, Dr. Obi Ozor, in his opening remarks, highlighted Governor Peter Mbah’s vision of using transport and logistics as a catalyst to transform the state’s economic landscape.

The proposed project, part of the administration’s broader infrastructure enhancement plan, seeks to address critical challenges in the transportation sector, including traffic congestion, safety, road asset preservation, and efficiency optimization.

The commissioner underscored the urgent need to develop supporting facilities such as interchanges and logistics hubs amidst the ongoing expansions in road infrastructure to improve the transportation network and meet current and future demands.

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Emphasizing the project’s scope, he noted that the governor’s plan for the Transport Infrastructure Project (TIP) extends beyond Abakpa, Gariki, and Nsukka and includes the Holy Ghost Interchange (Enugu Central Station) in the first phase and will also extend to other areas in the second phase.

According to him, the new interchange will feature modern facilities such as lettable spaces, ticketing halls, external bus shelters, a cinema, food courts, CNG daughter stations, and a motel, benefiting all businesses.

However, he disclosed the government’s concerns over the illegal practices surrounding government-designated parks, explaining that the lands, initially earmarked for public transport facilities to enhance traffic flow and service delivery as a government-owned property, have been misappropriated by private individuals and land grabbers.

Instead of serving the community, he revealed that the plots have been converted into private residences, shopping complexes, business centres, and places of worship, thwarting their intended public use.

“The misuse of these spaces has also contributed to hazardous road conditions. As traders are forced into streets, safety concerns are heightened, and unsightly urban environments are created. Such practices constitute encroachments, exposing the public to various levels of danger and insecurity. He reiterated that the Government is taking necessary steps to address these violations to appropriately utilize public lands for their original purposes and help improve urban planning and public amenities,” he added.

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Highlighting a specific case, the commissioner referred to the underutilized ultramodern 4,000-store capacity market in Nsukka, located on Aku Road. “Despite the available spaces, many occupants in the designated project site have been hesitant to relocate, partly due to a perceived lack of governmental initiative to repurpose their current locations for the essential infrastructure projects for which they are designated. Nonetheless, there has been some shift as some proactive citizens, aligning with the Government’s vision, relocated in late 2023 following clear indications of the state’s determination to proceed with the development of the transport interchange,” Obi further said.

While many occupants have already removed their valuables from the three project sites, the commissioner said the governor, in his benevolence, has granted an extension of the deadline till Friday, 24th May 2024, to allow more people to clear their properties.

The commissioner also disclosed Governor Mbah’s directive on an independent valuation of the impacted properties for further action, promising that qualifying businesses could have the right of first refusal for available lettable spaces upon project completion in 12 months.

In response, the attendees praised the visionary leadership of Governor Mbah administration for driving substantial infrastructure development towards positioning Enugu as a top destination for business and investment, commending his humane touch in engaging and sensitizing the affected parties.

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They equally thanked the government for its resolve to ease the impact of the project on affected individuals through a coordinated compensation plan.

The people equally called for increased police support in Garki, Abakpa, and Nsukka to ensure the safe removal of properties and to deter potential theft by hoodlums and scavengers.
The Government has pledged to take stringent action against any criminal activities during the period.

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