OWERRI—An 82-year-old blind man, Dr. Chuks Osuji, has threatened to die in the rubble of his house, if government carries out its demolition, having been marked ‘remove’ by officials of Owerri Capital Development Authority, OCDA.
The house was marked ‘remove’ by the Imo State Government, which is currently expanding some major roads in Owerri. The affected roads are MCC/Urrata, Okigwe Road, Orlu Road, Ikenegbu and Egbu/Mbaise Road, allegedly without any form of understanding with property owners.
Osuji told newsmen in Owerri, yesterday, that the state government had yet to show any commitment regarding payment of compensation over pulling down of the building.
He said: “There was no engagement for payment of compensation to me now or in the future. He said that officials of Owerri Capital Development Authority had marked his house ‘remove’.
“It is on the strength of that I want to alert the public on the injustice. Pulling down the house where I have my PR communication outfit, which employs some Imo youths and also get income to sustain my family will adversely affect me.
“As a very senior citizen in my 80s, frail and weak, pulling down this my house is tantamount to sentencing me to death.
“My choice will be to allow the building to collapse on me if that is what the authority wants. I was made to understand that yesterday, OCDA staff came and marked my little building at number 54 Mbaise Road by Amaram Street ‘remove’.
“I built this little house 22 years ago, when I had my sight and was active. The house met all statutory requirements and was approved by OCDA.
“I am now a senior citizen with full vision impairment and a national awards recipient; if this my house is pull down, where will I go?”
He, however, pleaded with Governor Rochas Okorocha to spare his house for the sake of endless humanitarianism and on compassionate grounds.
Osuji also appealed to people of good conscience to help appeal to the governor to spare his house.
He said: “I came home 36 years ago from the United States to help develop my society and have paid my dues. I deserve no raw deal after all my services to my fatherland.”
Many other property, including that of a former Internal Affairs Minister, Capt. Emmanuel Iheancho (retd), were destroyed by government.
Osuji, before becoming blind about 22 years ago, served as the Director-General of Imo State Mass Mobilisation Agency.