Anambra Govt, Traders Trade Words Over Demolition Of Market Structures
The Anambra State Government, on Saturday, demolished structures and shanties in some areas of the state.
Naija News reports that the demolishing exercise was executed by the enforcement team of the Anambra State Physical Planning Board (ANSPPB).
It was gathered that the enforcement team demolished shanties at Woliwo, Port Harcourt road, Onitsha and Nkwelle Ezunaka areas of the state.
The exercise was said to have followed the allegation that the areas had been taken over by a fraudulent developer who converted them into a market located under high tension cables.
Some victims of the exercise in a chat with The Nation Newspaper claimed that it has been more than 15 years since they paid the developer for the space.
One of the traders identified as Pastor Ukoha, accused the government of lack of empathy for poor masses trading in the affected areas.
He said: “I just finished developing small structures to help my business, I got approval after paying the landlord and local government authorities.
“This is the third time government is doing this thing to us and it’s not good, I am very very disappointed with the present government.”
Another trader who didn’t give his name noted that “We were not served notice. I was on my way when I got a call to come and remove my property before the structure is demolished.
“Just few weeks ago, I spent over N200,000 to put up this structure. We wouldn’t have lost so much. Though I don’t know the name of the landlord but we paid him. We’ve been here for over 40years.”
However, the ANSPPB Chairman, Barr. Chike Mmaduekwe, in his reaction to the demolishing exercise said illegal developers should desist from developing such places without government approval.
He remarked that the illegal activities of these developers was against the state Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s objective of achieving a livable and prosperous homeland.
He said, “Whether they’ve been there for 100years is immaterial as long as they’re commiting an illegality. That land belongs to the government. It used to be an open space before government de-zoned it.
“I actually blame the rightful owners. If you dont put up structures there, someone else will start selling the land to innocent people who probably are bonafide purchasers of right without notice.
“The truth is that they were severely warned with notice. This should be the third time. Each time you come and mark it, some individuals who claim to be influential will oppose the move.
“In fact, one of them who blocked a waterway within the area has been using all forms of arms and intimidation to put innocent market women there.”
“There’s no place we carried out enforcement they won’t tell you there was no notice. If you watch the walls, they’ve been marked, some as early as last year.
“Let them go and negotiate with the landowners if they want to be there. Government can’t afford to tolerate rightful owners of land being intimidated unnecessarily.
“We’ve been arresting culprits and we’re taking a lot of them to court next week. When they’re convicted and jailed, we recover the cost of the enforcement,” Mmaduekwe added.