Anambra Civil Society Network (ACSONET), a Citizens stakeholders group, has appealed to Governor Chukwuma Soludo to ensure that residents and businesses to be displaced due to the proposed Ekwulobia flyover project do not suffer.
ACSONET made the appeal following the complaint of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) that 13 filling stations in the area had been earmarked for demolition by the State government.
Chairman of ACSONET, Chris Azor, the in a statement, urged Soludo to ensure adequate rehabilitation and compensation for the citizens and businesses that would be displaced.
Azor enjoined Soludo to be mindful of citizens’ rights and the role of government in protecting lives and property.
He called on the government to carry out out extensive impact assessment of the project on the people, especially the poor who would be displaced from their ancestral land with nowhere to go to as alternative
He said citizens’ engagement with the affected people and adequate rehabilitation were the starting point of the project execution and that the cost of compensation should be a component of the eventual cost of the flyover.
“The essence of government is the protection of citizens, this project is about people, so we are call on Governor Soludo to have citizen engagement with these people to ascertain the impact of the project on them with a view of resettling them.
“Some of these displaced people have lived in their present houses for generations as their ancestral land, so, you cannot just tell them to vacate without caring about the impact on them and their welfare.
“Marketers under IPMAN have asked for an audience with the Governor. He should oblige them because they are citizens of Anambra, they pay tax, they serve the public and their family livelihood depend on these businesses,” he said.
Azor said the infrastructure development project was good in itself, but the impact on the people could not be wished away.
He promised that the Civil Society in Anambra would wade in and and ensure that plight of the affected people got the attention of the government.
Meanwhile, the Anambra government has said that the construction of Ekwulobia flyover had been awarded and would soon commence.
In a statement signed by Paul Nwosu, Commissioner for Information, the government said people whose properties and shops were on the right of way of the flyover or encroached into the road corridor should vacate.