Illegal Marine Settlement In Onitsha Cleared As The Fight Against Crime In Anambra Continues
By Obika Chidiebele
The illegal marine settlement in Onitsha has been cleared by the Anambra state government. The operation was led by the combined team of the Anambra State Physical Planning Board, Ministries of Land, Transportation, Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra and others.
Before the operation on the 1st day of August, 2018, the illegal occupiers were duly served quit notices by ANSPPB.
The illegal settlement which has existed for more than thirty years served as haven for all manner of criminals that terrorize the state.
Commenting on the removal of the illegal structures and shanties during his inspection of the place few days later, the governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, said “I am aware that over 30% of the former inhabitants of this area were from Aguleri, my home town, about 40% were ndi Omabala and the rest from other towns in Anambra and neighboring states. We appealed to them to go home that these shanties will be removed as they constitute a major threat to our drive for a safe and secure Anambra. Everyday we receive security report of criminals who seek refuge here, and we cannot continue to harbour criminals anywhere in the state. Today, Anambra is the safest state in Nigeria and that must be sustained”.
He further declared that, other places that harbour illegal settlements like the former demolished illegal marine settlement will soon be visited by the Taskforce.
He said “I have provided a token to the former occupants to allow them take their properties home. Everywhere in Anambra today is an urban or semi-urban area. Anambra has the best inter-community roads in Nigeria which has engendered drastic urbanization. One could actually be living in his home town while trading in Onitsha instead of living in shanties as previously obtained here”.
He rhetorically quipped: “Does it take up to a hundred naira to commute from Aguleri to Onitsha? So, let us live a decent life by living in good homes” Chief Obiano said.
Speaking during the demolition, the Chairman, Anambra State Physical Planning Board, Barr. Chike Maduekwe observed that in keeping with the visions of the Willie Obiano led government, all illegal structures in the state must be pulled down as they constitute threats to the environment and endanger lives of both the inhabitants and the neighbors. He said “About five different notices were extended to the former occupants of these structures but as you can see, almost all of them did not comply. Now, you may see some of them taking away their belongings.” Mr Maduekwe who decried the rising level of shanties in the state warned that no area will be spared the demolition exercise.
On his part, the Commissioner for Transport in the State, Sir Uchenna Okafor observed that the demolition exercise was in line with the land/shores reclamation agenda of the state government to provide for better views of the rivers in the state. Hon. Okafor who said, the blueprint for Water Transportation in the state is being worked out, observed that owners of illegal structures along river banks in the state should remove them or lose them to the Taskforce. “Soon, the state government will be embarking on construction of jetties and leisure parks along the banks and shores of the rivers in the state, which is in keeping with the visions of Governor Obiano in exploring the state’s potentials on water transportation,tourism and enhancing the aesthetic appeal of our waterways to the visitors”.
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