News

Onitsha trader demands N36 million as compensation to leave church premises

ANAMBRA, Nigeria – A trader in Onitsha, Mr. Ben Ubakaeze has demanded the sum of N36 million from the Anglican Church-owned hospital, Iyienu, as compensation to leave the premises where he sells provisions.

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Ubakaeze said the money would serve as accumulated profit he was expected to make from his business in the next 30 years.

Iyienu Hospital, a mission hospital owned by the Niger Diocese of the Anglican Church had served Ubakaeze quit notice from the premises on the excuse that the hospital is growing and needs to recover some of its space for further development.

But Ubakaeze in a press conference on Friday vowed not to quit the premises until he is paid N36 million.

He said the sum constitutes money he spent to clear a dumpsite in the hospital to begin his business, and profit he hoped to make in about 30 years that the lease of the space would have lasted.

He said, “That money is what I used to clean up the place and set up structures for the business and also the profit I would have made from 2014 to 2044 if not for this ejection.”

He added that “I cleared a dumpsite on the premises, which is one of the conditions given to me to take up the space. I hired a pay-loader/excavator and two tippers with the sum of N500,000 to evacuate the heaps of rubbish which took them three weeks.

“They also told me to give the space a befitting look as a Park/ Shop/ Relaxation Center, and I did by spending N2.5million on a horticulturist from Enugu who brought different types of carpet grass and planted in and around the space after the refuse has been evacuated.”

Ubakaeze also said that he undertook other expenditure, and had also projected that the business would have yielded N500,000 yearly from 2014 when he took up the place under a lease, to 2044 when the agreement was to terminate.

Meanwhile, the Management of Iyienu Mission Hospital Ogidi, in their reaction said they have dragged Ubakaeze to court over his refusal to quit the space.

Counsel to the hospital, Rev. Dr. Emma Ezeugo, denied that the management entered into any agreement with Ubakaeze, saying that the place was an already existing park before he was permitted to stay there.

“It is not possible for a dumpsite to exist side by side with a hospital, rather the place was already a beautified park and he was only directed to bring a container to sell his goods.

“He was given six months’ quit notice which expired on January 31, 2020, and a seven-day grace was also given to him to quit, but he refused, and we decided to drag him to court instead of using self-help.”

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