As the expansion of the Oyigbo-Umuebule-Eleme Junction axis of the Port Harcourt-Aba Expressway construction continues, business operators and artisans in the area under, the aegies of Umuebule Junction Property Owners have staged a peaceful protest, calling on the Federal Government to pay them compensation as earlier promised.
Speaking to journalists during the peaceful protest at the scene, Spokesman of the group, Mr Christian Okpara of Sopuruchukwu Motors said they believe that provision for compensation must have been made in the budget before the commencement of construction work on the road and as such they ought to have been paid before now.
He therefore called on the federal government through the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola to intervene in the matter.
“Our properties were destroyed along Umuebule Junction because of the road construction, but uptill now no compensation. We are therefore protesting peacefully to attract the attention of the federal government. We are not violent people that is why we are appealing to the Honourable Minister of Works to intervene on the matter,” Okpara said.
Asked whether they are not happy that the federal government is bringing development to their area, which would have received the support of the people instead of protest.
Okpara said they are happy with the project and that is the reason why they have not disrupted works on the project. He said it is natural that the people that have lost their livelihood in the course of the project be compensated. “That is how it is done everywhere in the world,” Okpara retorted.
Also speaking another leader of the group, Mr Emeka Okpuruka said there is need for the federal government and the construction company to pay compensation to owners of structures destroyed during construction works on the project.
“We have not disturbed work on the project. You can see that we are peaceful people and the protest is equally peaceful .We are only asking the federal government to compensate those who lost virtually all their properties to the road construction project. We believe that provision must have been made in the budget prior to the commencement of the project,” Okpuruka emphasized.
The protesters were seen brandishing placards with several inscriptions such as, “Honourable Minister our properties have been destroyed, no compensation, yet please help us”, “Honourable Minister, you are our last resort, please come to our aid”, “They must pay our compensation”, among others