When on 1st day of April 1986 Chief Albert Nwadialo Ofili was issued Anambra State of Nigeria Agricultural Certificate of Occupancy reference number EN/SDR/No/303/86/ANS to construct a fish farm along Atani-Ozubulu road, little did he know that 26 years on the future of his economic investment will be threatened. Today, the investment of the senior citizen which he plans to bequeath his generation is a distant dream.
Tamad Construction Company Ltd was awarded contract by the Anambra State Government to construct a bridge along the Atani- Ozubulu Road. The construction project has encroached into the entire fish pond farm with heavy materials and equipment lumped at the pond. The result is that a capital economic investment has been destroyed and means of livelihood ruined without second thought.
It is gratifying that Chief Albert Nwadialo Ofili is not against development. But development that destroys another development without providing an alternative is not true. One is aware that international best practice demands that compensation should be paid to anyone who has economic investment that stands on the pathway of new development. The payment of compensation will ensure that owners of such existing investment do not suffer untold hardship.
Since the wilful damage to Chief Ofili’s fish farm by Tamad Construction Ltd began, several efforts have been made to draw the attention of relevant authorities in Anambra State to the matter. Chief Ofili has through his lawyers written to the Governor of Anambra State, Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly, Secretary to Anambra State Government, Anambra State Commissioner for Works, Housing and Urban Development and the Managing Director Tamad Construction Ltd.
In a letter dated 18th April 2013 and addressed to the relevant authorities, Chief Ofili lawyers said ”That while our client, a most Senior, Patriotic Citizen of Nigeria, does not in any way wish to be seen as presenting a clog in the progress of the state, he is well entitled under the laws of the land, to adequate compensation for the imminent loss of his only means of livelihood, if and only if, it is shown that the need for overriding public interest outweighs his own private and well established interest.”
However, to the irking amazement of Chief Ofili and, of course, his lawyers none of those authorities written have responded. One wonders why the silence by those who should know better. Why are the authorities averse to amicable settlement of the matter? Do they want a breach of the peace before doing the needful? Why is it that those who should cherish peaceful resolution of matter want to dilly dally and wait for breakdown of law and order before acting?
Good conscience demands that Tamad Construction Ltd do the needful to avoid damaging cordial relationship it has with the host community. Good conscience calls on Anambra State authorities to ensure that a senior citizen of the state does not suffer undue loss. Good conscience requires that genuine capital investment of Chief Albert Ofili should be compensated for. Let just prevail. Let peace reign.