As part of measures to cushion the effect of losses suffered by people of Igbo extraction whose properties were demolished in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, a pan- Igbo socio-cultural organisation, plans to establish an Ohanaeze Relief Agency to be controlled by top Igbo leaders. President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, at a press conference in Abuja yesterday, said that Ohanaeze, through this agency, would support Igbo citizens in distress.
“It has been brought to my notice that many families have been thrown into serious difficulty due to the demolitions in Lagos State,” Iwuanyanwu stated. He noted that because of the investment characteristics of Igbo, private properties and investments in Abuja and Lagos are substantially owned by Ndigbo.
The President General disclosed that he had conducted an investigation on what happened in Lagos, and appealed to the Lagos State Government to intervene and ensure that justice is done.
He, however, said the Ohanaeze leadership would not support misconduct from any Igbo man anywhere they lived, and advised Ndigbo to ensure that they comply with all legislations and local regulations to avoid demolition of their properties in Abuja and other parts of Nigeria.
“I don’t have any doubt that there may be some instances where Igbo and perhaps other people whose property was demolished in Lagos did not fully comply with the laws of Lagos State.
“If any developer with impunity and without proper approval proceeds to develop a property anywhere in the world, he is taking a risk and his property stands the risk of being demolished.
“On the other hand if the property is properly purchased, approved from appropriate authority given before development, the individual deserves a happy and peaceful enjoyment of his assets.
“If any government demolishes the property built with approval of the appropriate government department, such government by law must pay appropriate compensation for all the damages incurred to the owner of the building,” he said.
Iwuanyanwu promised to meet with the Lagos State government Babajide Sanwo- Olu, and appealed to him to suspend the demolition of buildings until all the facts are cleared.