By Ikenna Orioha
Tenants of a two- storey building, situated at Plot 45 Egbu Road, Owerri (beside APGA office), marked for demolition by government, have demanded compensation from the Imo State government to enable them relocate to a better and safer place.
A week ago, government officials had marked the said building for demolition and mandated tenants to vacate within 7 days. Government has said that the house was on a middle of road being constructed from Ihechiuwa Street (behind of Relief Market) down to MCC Road.
Speaking to our reporter on Thursday, one of the tenants, Chief Ferdinand Mbonu appealed to government to give them at least six months to enable them organize themselves financially so that their businesses and families will not suffer much due to the demolition of the house.
According to Mbonu, “government officials came here last week to ask us to vacate within 7 days. This house has existed for 42 years before the creation of Relief Market by Sam Mbakwe. It is not done in that manner. We did not say we are not living. We appeal to government to give us more time to prepare for that. We cannot just leave. I have stayed here for 11 years doing business, paying over 20 staff. What will happen to my business? My customers know our address. This is a very big problem which gives us sleepless night”.
Mbonu, who begged government to relocate some of the willing tenants who are into business to ICAPS, Egbu, Owerri, where there are empty offices on renting as they are ready to pay, said such a move when considered would generate more revenue for the government as well as douse their pain.
Also reacting, another tenant, who did not want his name in print, urged government to compensate the owner of the house so that he settles the tenants.
“I just paid for rent of #500,000 which will elapse next year. My six children and 3 orphans are staying with me here. Others paid for two years. And we have no other source for new accommodation given the economic situation in the state. We support his good work, but the governor should compensate us. We really need help”.
The Landlord, when contacted said he was not in the mood to speak.