On November 7, 2019. By Victor Ogunyinka
Says govt is afraid of the rich
Tell the poor not deface Enugu streets ― Govt
By Dennis Agbo
Enugu Catholic priest and the Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria, AMEN, Rev Fr. Ejike Mbaka, has come down hard on the state government, describing it as one that fears the rich but debases the poor.
Fr. Mbaka’s outburst was in reaction to the ongoing demolitions of illegal structures in the state capital, aimed at returning the city back to it’s original master plan.
But the fiery priest said that what the government is doing amounts to atrocity and a destruction of people’s sources of livelihoods.
Mbaka made the outburst on Wednesday night, during his weekly Adoration vigil at Umuchigbo-Nike, Enugu.
He lamented what he said was the immensity of suffering and economic crunch befalling Nigerians, noting that demolition of people’s shops without giving them enough notice, or providing alternative areas for them was economic sabotage.
Fr. Mbaka reported that the Chairman of Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, ECTDA, Dr Josef Onoh told him, which he said was an iota of truth, that such demolition policy should not be only for the poor people, but should be replicated to the affluents as well.
Onoh, however, told Vanguard that what he told Fr Mbaka was that he should advise the so-called poor not to contravene the law because of their financial disadvantage.
Onoh said: “Mbaka said I should balance the demolitions and I said to Mbaka that he said God has given him the poor as his flock, that he should go back to the poor and ask them to be law-abiding and stop defacing the environment and that they should not use the slogan that they are poor to continue degrading the environment.
“I told him that if there is no conducive environment for all of us to leave, the rich and the poor, then we will not have anything; that he should tell them that government is returning Enugu to its original master plan for a healthier, safer and serene environment; that they should leave the pedestrian walkways and go into the market.”
At the Adoration, Mbaka said: “If you want to restore the masterplan of 1933 in Enugu State, you should do it holistically, there are some areas where the masterplan was flouted but because it belongs to the echelon political class, the government is afraid of pulling down the structures there.
“Take for instance, at the back of Okpara Square, there is a company called Spar, in the master plan of Enugu it is not made to be there.
“Where Shoprite is located was formerly made for recreation park, today Shoprite is there, is that the initial master plan of Enugu state?
“What about Zoo Estate, the place that was made for animals residence, it is now being harboured by human beings.
So, you don’t take justice one-sided whoever errs must be punished, when I see you people destroying those ones, I now know that you are out to restore the original master plan of Enugu.”
He told Government of Enugu State that the problem Enugu has was not the shop owners along the street, and should henceforth stop the demolitions immediately if they want peace.
“Embarking on such inhuman act is capable of jeopardising the peace we enjoy in this state, such policy creates rooms for people to start indulging in criminal activities such as kidnapping, Prostitution and the rest of them.
“Why is it that many governors practice impunity so much in their second tenure? Gburugburu, I and poor people supported so much for reelection is now turning against the people that voted for him, a famous Governor trying to make himself infamous, is very unfortunate.
“It is only a nincompoop that treads where the angels don’t, something that Chimaroke and Sullivan did not do, that you are being allowed to be misled by sycophants to do. Remember that I will not keep mute when poor people are being maltreated,” Mbaka said.