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Enugu Govt To Go After Owners of Structures Without Approval

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The Enugu State Government has raised the alarms over what it described as proliferation of fake land title documents, forged building approvals, and illegal structures across the metropolis, vowing to bring the perpetrators to book and ensure they did not profit from their crooked actions.

The government also announced the withdrawal of all forged and fraudulently obtained building approvals and stoppage of structures that did not have government’s permits, but assured genuine investors in the state that the administration of Governor Peter Mbah remained investment-driven, and would continue to create the right environment for their businesses to flourish.

The Executive Chairman of the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA), Hon. Uche Anya, made the revelations at press conference in Enugu on Thursday where he stressed that government had a fundamental role in ensuring that the lives of the citizens were protected, as unapproved buildings were not only a threat to some major bridges in the state, but also posed a danger to human and environmental safety.

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He said that the state would go after owners of the illegal structures if they refuse to submit themselves for verification and proper approval.

The ECTDA boss expressed concerns over what it further described as willful sabotage of the robust system of land administration and development being put in place by the government, saying that a lot of approvals and buildings were products of fraud, as they did not emanate from any government office.

Displaying samples of fraudulent title documents and building approvals, he said: “It is disheartening that in spite of all we have done, we are still facing challenges in our development control. We have some unscrupulous developers, who call themselves investors, sabotaging our master plan, corrupting the very system we are setting up for international transparency standards.

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“We have discovered, painfully, that some of the distortions we have to deal with are actually products of fraud. We have instances where people are applying for approval using the Certificate of Occupancy (C-of-O) for an entirely different district.”

He lamented that some individuals, who obtained approvals to erect specific structures had deviated from the approved building plans to erect “strange and distorted structures that were never approved.”

Pointing out some of the fraudulent and illegal structures, the Chairman explained that no approval was obtained for the ongoing building opposite the Fire Service, between Otigba Junction and Ogui Roundabout, expressing worries that such structure could pose danger to human life if not checkmated.

According to him, the proprietors of a certain night club, Breathe Restaurant and Lounge, Independence Layout, obtained approval by fraudulent representation through a Certificate of Occupancy meant for Plot 31 Ekulu River Layout in GRA, Enugu.

Citing the example of the Ekulu bridge between GRA and Trans-Ekulu, Anya also raised the alarm that some major bridges in the state were threatened by illegal structures at the banks of the river under them.

He, however reiterated the commitment of the administration to adhere to the state master plan and support existing and potential investors to grow their businesses by de-risking investment, stressing that the government would not fall prey to vicious attacks and blackmail by the unscrupulous elements holding the good people of the state at the jugular.

“We welcome people that want to make Enugu their preferred home; Enugu is home for all. This is what this administration is committed to. When we talk about our $30 billion investment drive for Enugu, it is not a joke. You could see that the Governor Mbah administration is not joking about it; you could see the massive infrastructural developments going all over the place.

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“You could see that the governor pays attention to ease of doing business. For instance, our taxation system has been harmonised. We have zero tolerance for double taxation. You could see that e-government has taken root.

“Our Lands Ministry is undergoing total reform to enable our people and investors to obtain their C-of-O in a matter of 72 hours maximum if all your documents are in order. Here at Enugu Capital Territory, we also make it easy for every development approval to be done within five working days or within one week,” Anya added.

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