Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

Some staff of the National Museum of Unity, Enugu, have blamed the National Commission for Museums and Monument (NCMM), for planning to demolish their houses in Enugu without due notice.

Some of them who spoke to Newsmen on Saturday, said they were not given adequate notice before the demolition.

According to reports, the staff were living in an empty land within the museum premise in Enugu and caterpillar has already started clearing the area.

Many of them has lived there for 15 to 20 years on management approval and pay rent to them while some have started leaving the premises.

A retired driver, Mr Patrick Mmuolokwu, said he retired from service few months ago and his pension had not be paid, stressing that he had been surviving from assistance by his wife and friends.

He said, “Where do they want me to go. They should pay me my pension to enable me look for alternative accommodation.

“The little farm where my wife planted yams and cassava has been leveled, remaining our house,” he said.

Another staff, who pleaded anonymity, said they did not just walk into the building.

According to him, they applied to build their own houses on the land and it was approved by management,  adding that they pay rents.

“Our worry is not because they want to demolish our houses but they should have given us notice to prepare ourselves.

“Many of us are old and the situation is causing them trauma and if we have been given notice on time, we would have prepared our minds,” he said.

The staff said it was the contractor who told them to vacate the place before Jan. 23.

“Is the contractor our employer, the office should have informed us that they want to do a project were we built our houses.

“It would have been on record since many of us have lived here for long and nobody will have grudge but now, we are doing panic relocation.

Reacting, the Curator, Enugu Museum, Mr Aloysius Duru, told NAN that the Federal Government initiated the project to build a theatre, museum kitchen, craft center, auditorium, and children’s park, among others.

He said the project was a concession between Federal Government and a private investor under which some parcels of land would be given to the investor to develop and manage for 25 years, after which, it would revert to museum.

“We are not doing the demolition already but clearing the area for development and we will only demolish were the staff is leaving and shops later.

“I told the engineer to give them time to relocate and on Jan. 6, we began pulling down trees and clearing grasses,” Duru said.

The curator added that staff living there were adequately served notice, adding that when the project would be completed, guest houses would be build where some of them would be relocated to.

Duru said the project would last one year and eight months, after which, it would be handed over to the museum to be running.

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