The Anambra Government has expressed dismay over the demolition of its houses in Onitsha by some indigenes of Onitsha said to be recovering their land from government.
The houses are the Veterinary Quarter and other structures at the GRA Onitsha. They are located at Plot 14, Ring Road, Bent lane behind Judges’ Quarters, Regina Nwankwu Avenue, Park Road and Enugu Road.
The Ekwerekwu family of Onitsha had last week, got a court order authorizing it to recover the government lands, leased out more than 100 years ago to government by the family.
The affected land included the Onitsha police barracks, which were demolished two weeks ago by the family.
The Anambra State Commissioner for Lands, Mr. Okoli Akirika, however frowned on the approach adopted by the family saying they ahd not followed due process in recovering the land.
He said, “We are not against any person espousing any possessor right, but certain things should be done within the ambits of the law.
“If you are saying that the lease has expired, there are certain procedures for re-entry. This is government property, so we shall not take kindly to things of this nature.
“This is a government property anchored and situated on legality and we expect that whoever wants to espouse any right should do so within the ambit and procedure as prescribed by the law.
“If everybody starts resorting to self-help, we will have a situation of anarchy. Legality and lawlessness are strange bedfellows, so we are not going to take this.
“We are open to complaints and petitions which could be legitimately lodged at the ministry so that we look at it for determination on its merit.
“If there will then be need to release property back to the owner, re-acquire the property or pay compensation, government shall do that.
“It is a question of fact depending on the peculiar circumstances of the matter, but ultimately, self-help or lawlessness will not assist or benefit any party.”
He appealed to people to always ensure that their actions were regulated within the regime of legality saying that “lawlessness does not pay.”
Reacting however, one of the lawyers to the original owners of the land, Mr Azubuike Anyakwo, who rushed down to the demolition site, told the commissioner, that his clients did not resort to self-help.
According to him, the demolition was carried out on the order of a court.