Enugu Railway Workers Threaten Lawsuit Over Demolished Properties

The union described the demolition as outrageous and unacceptable, adding that the government carried out the exercise with impunity.
Nigerian Railway Corporation Branch, Eastern District Chapter Enugu
Nigerian Railway Corporation Branch, Eastern District Chapter EnuguX [ Formally Twitter ]

The workers of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Enugu chapter, staged a protest on Tuesday and threatened to drag the state government to court for demolishing their offices and staff quarters. The body demanded compensation and reconstruction of their demolished homes and workplaces. 

It was gathered that the government planned a new central station on the demolished site.

The workers issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Enugu State Governor, Dr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, to negotiate replacements for the ten flats, training schools, and workshops demolished. They maintained that the demolition was illegal as there was no prior warning, alternative accommodation offered, or ongoing litigation regarding the property.

Last Friday, the Mbah administration began demolishing buildings on a 30,000-square-metre area within the Railway Corporation in the Holy Ghost area as part of their urban renewal programme for the planned Enugu Central Station.

Reports say the demolitions affected several buildings, including Our Saviour Institute of Science, Agriculture, and Technology, a College of Education, Oha Micro-Finance Bank, and branches of Ecobank and First City Monument Bank, among others. all located in the Ogbete Main Market area.

Speaking to newsmen during the protest, the President-General of the Nigerian Union of Railway Workers, Comrade Innocent Ajiji, condemned the government's lack of transparency and communication. He pointed out that other states demolishing railway property for development projects made alternative arrangements for workers.

The state government, however, maintains they had a legal agreement with the railroad property management and paid compensation. But Ajiji disputes this, questioning the existence of a memorandum of understanding and demanding proof of compensation.

The workers' protest highlights the tension between development projects and the rights and well-being of those affected.

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