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Enugu moves to demolish structures on water channels

By Lawrence Njoku, Enugu
26 September 2016   |   2:58 am
No fewer than 95 buildings including business areas, schools and churches will be pulled down if the Enugu State government carries out its threat to demolish structures built beside water ways, especially in the metropolis.
Flooded building around the tunnel

Flooded building around the tunnel

No fewer than 95 buildings including business areas, schools and churches will be pulled down if the Enugu State government carries out its threat to demolish structures built beside waterways, especially in the metropolis.

The move to demolish these structures which government described as “illegal” may not be unconnected with the recent flooding of the multimillion naira ebeano tunnel crossing built during the administration of Chimaroke Nnamani about 10 years ago.

The tunnel, one of the strategic arteries that have contributed in easing off traffic in the state is now threatened by the stagnated water caused by construction works that has blocked waterways in the area.

The flooding has become so worrisome that occupants of the fidelity estate, a new housing estate that commenced under the immediate past administration of Sullivan Chime including the Ebeano Police post situated in the area no longer have access into their premises.

Residents recently raised the alarm that the tunnel built under rail tracks may collapse unless something urgent was done to facilitate movement of water around the area.  Already, a yawning gap caused by galloping erosion has been created on the foot of the tunnel crossing, thus weakening it.
Government through the Ministry of works last week began moves to salvage the tunnel when it opened some arteries for flow of water; that, however, seems to be a far cry as the channels were too small to contain the volume of water coming to the area.
Perturbed by the development, government warned residents to stay away from the crossing especially during the rains.

Commissioner for Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority,(ECTDA), Mr.  Chidi Aroh, who gave the indication of a possible demolition while conducting stakeholders round some building sites which his office has marked to stop work, said that about 141 of such sites have been discovered.

Aroh who addressed journalists after a tour of 14 out of the 141 sites said that he called the media workers and some other stakeholders to come and witness what is happening in Enugu metropolis so that should government do something drastic, they will not be accused of witch-hunting or victimising anybody.

“I want you to see things for yourself and advice the government on what to do so that when government take some measures, they will not be seen as witch-hunting or victimising anybody.

“We had marked some of these sites to stop work but you have seen that most of them have continued to building and when it is pulled down, people will cry out that government has demolished a building that was nearing completion,” Aroh points out.

He also pointed out that some of the owners of the buildings have never come to their office for certification and approval yet they have kept on building.

Aroh said that it was the desire of Enugu State Government to ensure that Enugu becomes the cleanest city in Nigeria and will not like anybody however highly placed or organization mar the environmental aesthetics of the state.

He was not emphatic on when the demolition would commence but there was an indication that the buildings marked “stop work” are likely to be pulled down.

To show the seriousness of the impending demolition, the tour of the sites was witnessed by journalists, officials of National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency,(NESREA); Nigeria

Last week, members of the Enugu State House of Assembly began deliberations on a motion brought before them by the member representing Igbo-Etiti West, . James Akadu that all structures blocking waterways and water channels in Enugu, especially Enugu metropolis, be demolished.

Akadu brought the motion captioned, ‘motion on a matter of urgent public importance,’ urging the House to direct the Ministry of Enugu Capital Territory to immediately demolish all structures built on the water ways within Enugu Capital Territory.’