•Coal City University Chancellor Chidenu Ani
News Express learnt that the order was sequel to an action filed by the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, ECTDA.
In the ruling issued on December 16 by Chief Magistrate grade 1, Alex Amalu, it ordered the respondent, Chinedu Ani, to open the access road linking Onoh crescent and Oshimili street.
The court said: “The respondent is ordered to open the waterway illegally acquired and annexed to his property.”
It also ordered Ani to provide the ECTDA all approved building plan and title documents within 21 days, adding that if he has no approval, he should pay the contravention fees and violation charges to the state government within seven days.
“And the commissioner of police and Commander of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps are directed to provide security during the execution by the applicant if the respondent fails to comply with the directives of the applicant to maintain law and order at all times,” it ordered.
Ani was alleged to have blocked a thoroughfare linking Onoh quarters in Ekulu GRA to Oshimili up to Enugu-Ontisha expressway.
Sources hinted that there used to be a road that crossed Ekulu River with a hanging bridge from GRA to the Express road, but a visit to the area on Saturday, showed that the road terminated into Ani’s residence.
Residents who were fetching water from a public tap close to the former road said the road doesn’t exist anymore.
“If you want to go to Oshimili, you have to turn back and follow the Trans-Ekulu bridge and go through the express. The road was closed long ago. We don’t know why it was closed,” the water fetchers said.
Before the court process, the ECTDA said that it had on two occasions written to Mr. Ani, asking him to furnish the agency with his building approval, survey plan and any other relevant document to prove that he did not contravene town planning regulation.
The agency also said that it confirmed from the state ministry of Lands and Urban Development that the road which Ani blocked exists in its record, adding that there was no rezoning that approved for closure of the access road and the natural waterway.
It further disclosed that it received a letter from Karastan Company limited denying sale of any land directly to Mr. Ani but to three others whom Ani bought the portions of land from to make his plot a total land area of 5,081.72 square meters in addition to another 727.720 square meters, as shown in plan No. DA/EN231/2015.
Chairman of ECTDA, Dr. Josef Onoh alleged that Mr. Ani had come to his office with policemen and threatened him and his workers for investigating the illegal annex and blockage of public access road.
“But the outcome of this will now be a test for ECTDA that has been accused by even the clergy for enforcing development control on only the poor and will prove if there are separate justices between the poor and the rich.
“I’ve always been accused of selective justice but we have always tried to exercise a professional approach in all our dealings and we are not biased. This administration has never held selective justice between the rich and the poor but has always done to the best of our knowledge,” Onoh said.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that trouble started when Rockonoh Property Company limited petitioned the ECTDA, alleging that Ani in 2015 illegally blocked the thoroughfare, adding that it had approached an Enugu high court over the matter.
Chairman/Managing Director of Rockonoh property, Mr. GB Onoh disclosed that the matter was in the public domain.
“Never mind the punk, these are all public documents, I’ve already taken him to court,” he said.
In the petition to ECTDA, GB Onoh had said: “Chinedu Ani’s actions, who was not even born when the bridge was constructed should in no way be condoned and should face the same fate as others like him who arrogates their individual interests over that of the masses. His illegal blockage should be brought down and the Bailey bridge restored.”
However, Ani has denied any wrongdoing, declaring: “That’s how I found it, I bought (land) from the Onohs. They sold to me and said there is no road there. Those people that are telling you to do that report are the same people that sold that place to me and said there is no road there.
“I am sure you can’t jump the bridge and you have to add to your report that I tarred that place with my private money and I put up those street lights and I am paying for it.” (News Express)