There was jubilation in Enugu on Friday as Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi formally restored 230 plots of land belonging to the health workers of the state which were purportedly revoked by the immediate past Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development without the consent of the governor.
Addressing the health workers when they visited him at the Government House, Enugu, on the purported revocation of their land registered as Villa Estate in Ozalla Abor, Enugu, Gov. Ugwuanyi expressed dismay, saying that the land was revoked without his consent, contrary to the Land Use Act.
Reiterating the commitment of his administration to the wellbeing of the people of Enugu State, Gov. Ugwuanyi disclosed that the state government will formalize the land and give it back to the health workers, amid jubilation.
He told the elated health workers that “We will do what we did for other people their land was revoked without my consent”.
Recall that Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration recently restored Plot No. P/23CA Independence Layout, Enugu, to the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), which was purportedly revoked by the immediate past Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development without the governor’s approval pursuant to the Land Use Act.
Speaking further, the governor, therefore, directed the health workers to liaise with the present Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development, Nnanyelugo Chidi Aroh for necessary action, and promised to retrieve every land in the state taken from people illegally.
Earlier in his remarks, the Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development, Aroh, pointed out that his attention was drawn to the purported revocation on assumption of office, revealing: “We have been looking through the processes in the files and I can confirm that before the acquisition of the Golf Annex 2, there existed a Villa Estate owned by these health workers and they owned those plots of land there.
“Your Excellency, I have tried to look for all the documents that concerned the purported revocation of their land. I sorted all the documents in the ministry and I am unable to find any document where you gave consent to the revocation of the land belonging to these health workers”.
In their presentation, earlier, the health workers led by the State Chairman of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Comrade Bennett Asogwa, told Gov. Ugwuanyi, who they described as “a Peace Maker, Labour-friendly Governor, father that cares and silent achiever” their ugly experience in the hands of the immediate past Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development.
According to them, they acquired the land from Ozalla Abor community in 2015 with their limited resources.
Speaking on behalf of the health workers, the TUC State Chairman, Comrade Asogwa, expressed optimism that the governor will wipe away the tears of the affected workers, stressing that the workforce in Enugu State are appreciative of what his administration has done for them in spite of the nation’s economic challenges.
According to him, “Your Excellency, we are highly grateful the way you have revitalized the health sector in Enugu State. Before you came in, most of our primary healthcare centres were not functional but we can stand today boldly and say clearly that in any of these healthcare centres somebody enters he will know that something has happened, including the secondary healthcare sector. There is none of them that did not receive a boost.
“We know Your Excellency that before you came in we had a litany of issues including the implementation of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) and others. We remember that we came to you and you put a smile on our faces.
“The Colliery Hospital, Enugu (now Enugu State Infectious Disease Isolation and Treatment Centre) was looking outdated, now it is wearing a new face courtesy of your massive interventions. That health facility has become a centre of attraction. Anybody coming into Enugu through that axis will equally appreciate it.
“Your Excellency, we are very grateful. We know that every other thing we request for as workers has been coming to us without pains including the minimum wage.
“You changed the face of workers for good and I remember that when the minimum wage was approved at the federal level, you didn’t wait for us to come. You were the one that called us and when we came you told us that we will sit down and implement it seamlessly”.