Okorocha’s buldozers demolish illegal structures

Apparently becoming very uncomfortable with the filth and decay Owerri, the Imo State capital, has turned into in recent times, the state governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha recently announced a new state policy tagged “Imo My Pride “ which is akin to the Clean and Green policy of the immediate past government of Chief Ikedi Ohakim.
While the government has not given any directive for people to repaint their houses or business offices in the metropolis as was done under Ohakim, Governor Okorocha is determined to ensure that the beauty of the capital city is restored without further delay.
To this end, he has ordered all the artisans including the two mechanic villages at Nekede and Orji operating within the capital metropolis to relocate to Avu community in Owerri-West LGA which is some 20 kilometres from the state capital.
Similarly, the governor served  quit order to street traders in the metropolis just as he ordered the immediate demolition of all illegal structures in the state.
Already the demolition squad of the Owerri Capital Development Authority has swung into action as perceived illegal structures within the Amakaohia/Akwakuma new road junction, Ama wire Orji Junction, Warehouse junction, and Control Post have gone down.
According to Okorocha: “I want Imo to wear a new look that will be the envy of other states, we can’t afford to have a stinking city”.
The Imo governor also frowned at natives who are in the habit of building structures without the approval of the state government, especially in places where the government has already earmarked as green areas.
He pointed out that such structures had contributed to erosion and flooding of the city, saying that his administration would revisit the master plan of the capital city to make necessary amendments that would help the beautification of the city.
As part of the  the beautification plans the governor has established a task force to arrest heavy duty trucks drivers who violate the government’s directives not to move through the state capital during the day.
However, no matter how good the beautification programme is, it has left in its wake tears, pain and sorrow as those whose shops and businesses were demolished are now gnashing their teeth.
Most of them are lamenting that their only source of livelihood have been destroyed even as they have  accused the governor of not giving them enough notice to salvage their wares.
One of the victims whose hair dressing salon was reduced to rubbles at Ama Wire in Orji ,  Agatha  told Oriental News that they had no prior notice from the Owerri Capital Development Authority to vacate the area, saying that surprisingly the agents of the OCDA came to the area last Tuesday and started demolishing their shops even when it was not in the metropolis.
The lady who lamented that she lost all her equipment to the demolition squad wondered how a governor who claimed to love the people would at the same time cause them so much pain.
“What I’m going to do now? I’m finished; it is nothing but wickedness for Okorocha to repay us in this way. First, they never told us that Ama Wire will be demolished because if they had told us at least I would have removed my hair dressing equipment from the shop, but now  I have lost everything including the hair dryer  that I borrowed money to buy just last month. The distraught lady bemoaned,” she said.
It was a similar tale of woes for Chijioke Njoku who runs an eatery outlet at the Orji Junction whose outlet was also demolished as he was confused on what else to do.
He said that it was curious for the state government to demolish shops that are more or less in the village just to frustrate the people.
“This place is a village road that leads to Uratta, it is not tarred and most of the people who sell here are indigenes of the place, so I don’t understand why the governor will order that the shops in the place should be demolished, this is where people are making their living because of the high unemployment rate in the state. Now that the governor has demolished the shops of people in the name of beautification will that put money in the pockets of the people? It is the money that I make from this restaurant that I use in taking care of my family and now that Okorocha has demolished it does he want me to become an armed robber or what,” he fumed.
The case was same for Charles, a carpenter, who not only lost his shop and his working tools but also the finished pieces of  furniture which he was supposed to deliver to the owners.
He told Oriental News that the governor has succeeded in putting him in debt.
“Okorocha has put me in debt because the pieces of furniture that were destroyed alongside my shop was already paid for by the owners, so what am I going to tell them?” he lamented.
The Chief of Staff to the state government who also doubles as the Commissioner for Lands and Urban Planning, Uche Nwosu shedding more light on the issue expressed surprise why some operators of the illicit act were adamant even after the state government had provided designated parks and markets for them to do their businesses.
He maintained that the illicit act by traders and motorists was no longer acceptable by the government, saying that the Okorocha-led administration was more committed to remodeling the city and making it one of the best in the country.
But Oriental News found that while the people were not against the beautification programme they argued that the government needed to provide an alternative place for the people to earn their living as the current demolition of shops alleged to be illegal structures would only add to the rising crime rate in the state.

The Sun
Okorocha’s buldozers demolish illegal structures Okorocha’s buldozers demolish illegal structures Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, July 13, 2015 Rating: 5

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