By Ushang Ewa
A lady, Mrs. Nora Grace Anyating has lost her two months pregnancy after a collapsed pillar in her residence knocked her unconscious following the demolition of her residence by bulldozers clearing the 137 kilometers Mfum – Obudu mountain resort dual carriage way.
Mrs. Anyating is said to have been attempting to move some valuables from her house on Friday last week when the bulldozer arrived and despite pleas from residents and those nearby for the operator to hold on, he continued and as she emerged from her house, a pillar collapsed and knocked her unconscious.
Her husband, Mr. Philip Anyating, a lawyer, told CrossRiverWatch on phone that his wife was in coma for several hours and was resuscitated by doctors in a public hospital in Obudu.
He lamented the situation and wondered why the contractors were so heartless to have carried out demolition with humans trapped inside the houses despite the fact that the state is yet to conclude the payment of compensation.
When asked if he will take any legal action, Mr. Anyating said he was heartbroken that no one had visited his family to inquire about his wife which means they would not have cared if she had died.
However, family members told CrossRiverWatch that Mr. Anyating is also frustrated because the issues surrounding compensation were yet to be cleared.
“His house was valued at about NGN5 million by the estate valuers they brought. But, till now I don’t think he has received more than NGN200,000 which is not even enough to buy land for him to rebuild. This is a case of forceful eviction from your ancestral land and the Governor has been crying for the Bakassi people while right under his nose, his kinsmen are being forcibly evicted by his appointees in the name of road construction without proper compensation,” said a family member whose identity has been withheld by CrossRiverWatch.
He also said the younger brother to the Governor, Mr. Frank Ayade stood afar and one of the contractors, Mr. Khan Akbar Jadoon who has been supervising the clearing work pointed in the direction where the building had collapsed on Mrs. Anyating before he entered his vehicle and drove off.
It is unclear if the duo were discussing the matter and the relative said: “We know the Governor to be a very emotional person, what we do not understand is how these things have happened under him. Some people have blamed the brother Franco (Mr. Frank Ayade) and the Chief of Staff among others, but I don’t understand why these things happen.”
CrossRiverWatch gathered that the issue of compensation for those residing or who own properties along the route has been a challenge with the actual valuation given by estate valuers kept aside while top government functionaries re-wrote the cheques claiming the houses were all built with mud, hence a room should be valued at NGN200,000 only.
“What we are hearing now is that the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Martins Orim sat down and rewrote the cheques. The people doing this stayed in his house and he cannot claim not to be aware. If you meet the Special Adviser Public Utilities, Mr. Amboni Iyadim, he will direct you to meet the Secretary to Mr. Orim. I don’t think the Governor is aware of the way these men are shortchanging his kinsmen,” said Adah Agba (not actual name), a staff of the College of Education in Obudu.
He continued: “Stalls and single rooms were valued at NGN400,000 and the next thing, cheques were issued at NGN200,000. If you know the Adesina family along Ogoja road, the money they were given for all those properties will not be enough to rebuild them again.
“But, if you say they are mud houses, what about the land? Will NGN200,000 buy you land and build a single room apartment? These people are wicked. It is sad especially as it is becoming obvious that people in Yala and Bekwarra were paid more.
“Those are rural communities, and Obudu is a town by our own definition since it is listed as one of the five urban centers; so, how do you justify the lesser pay?”
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