> The sleepy town of Uke in Idemili North local government area of Anambra state is in the news again for yet another unpalatable reason- a new road construction that has rendered many people, including the family of the late monarch, Igwe Nwabufoh Ezeude homeless in the village.
> The preliminary clearing works for the construction of the proposed Ebube Monso Adoration Road, stretching from Abatete through Uke to Okpokolo-Umuoji and a spur at Ideani has jolted the citizens last Tuesday when they were woken by the buzzing sounds of bulldozers and crashing fences, homes, gates and other cash crops, unannounced. The road construction according to sources from the state assembly was neither captured in the 2013 or 2014 state budget, was with no plan, design nor passed through the standard bid process or the usual razzmatazz of ceremonial flag-off at all. Gov Peter Obi had promised the adoration WORSHIPPERS an access road when he visited last November when many died in an ensuing stampede.
> The tragedy which has left many in agony and speechless, including family of late Igwe Ezeude, whose last Ofala festival was being arranged in the next few days, according to Hon Bonny Onwubualiri, a retired manager of the Central Bank whose country home was affected said that the residents just woke up last Monday to behold the bulldozers pulling down their buildings without warning or any type of notice whatsoever. The monarch’s last burial rites may be seriously hampered or carried out under a canopy instead.
> He stated that till now, all efforts to get clarification from the contractor on the nature of the project, or the sponsors proved abortive as he refused to respond to the enquiries and has forced so many speculations.
> Hon Onwubualiri stated that owners of most of properties being destroyed live outside the state or overseas, and have been there for ages and that relevant town planning authorities approved his own plan and many others before he started building it with all his life’s savings.
> The retired banker wondered if any of the buildings would have been approved if the authorities knew that it encroached with a road.
> He also disclosed that investigations have revealed that the there was no survey, measurement and even markings on the affected buildings before they were pulled down recklessly. “I have never seen this kind of thing in my life. They just come and pull your house down without any prior notice”
> Hon Onwubualiri who disclosed that if efforts to get reprieve fails he would go to court, but noted that he is not opposed to infrastructural development of his village but that everything should follow due process of notifying the affected people of the plans of the government responsible to creat a road where there was none. ” Whoever that is behind this has turned this christmas to a blue one for us because some of us, our families, friends and loved ones will have to spend the yuletide under the tree.”
> A university don, Dr Francis Ikwuegbu who was on site to appraise the the level of damage to his Lagos based brother’s new home, part of which was still under construction with a view to have the yuletide celebrated there, blamed the leadership of the community for not living up to their responsibilty of calling a village meeting to notify them of the impending demolitions before allowing strangers to move into the community to destroy people’s legitimate properties.
> Dr Ikwegbu declared that shaving people’s head in their absence is an unacceptable practice any where in the world. He said he was yet to calculate the cost of the huge losses, but insisted the leadership of the state and National Assemblies shall be petitioned by the victims at once.
> Chief Charlse Uzodinma another victim said that the overnight road construction pulled down part of his building and the two graves of his late father and mother. He said the idea of exhuming their dead bodies and commencing a process of re-burial is just unthinkable for him.
> Efforts to speak with the President General of Uke Development Union, Chief Emeka Enendu and the Anambra state commissioner for works, Dr Callistus Ilozumba for their own side of the story did not yield any positive results as none of the repeated calls were answered.
When Mr Tony Oneweek Muonagor who represents the area in the state assembly was contacted, he said he plans to visit the victims and assess the extent of damage. He said he would not prevent them from any form of protest as they were heartbroken that the ugly situation came at a time like now when families were getting ready for the Yuletide. Copies of their petition was already sent to Gov Peter Obi, Senator Chris Ngige and the Rep Charles Odedo( Idemili Federal Constituency)