Wailing, anguish as ANSPPB demolishes illegal structures in Onitsha

Wailing, anguish as ANSPPB demolishes illegal structures in Onitsha

The illegal structures were said to be annexed by a fraudulent developer

Traders in Woliwo (Ọgbọ Oroma), Port Harcourt road, Onitsha and Nkwelle Ezunaka, Anambra State have continued to count their loses following demolition of illegal structures and shanties by enforcement team of the Anambra State Physical Planning Board (ANSPPB).

The illegal structures were said to be annexed by a fraudulent developer who converted the same into a market despite risk of High Tension cables along the area.

The victims claimed to have paid for the space to the landowner for the past 15 years.

One of them who identified himself as Pastor Uko, accused government of lack of empathy for the poor masses trading in the affected areas.

“I just finished developing small structures to help my business, I paid the landlord and he gave me approval and I also paid the 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,” he said.

Another victim who preferred anonymity said, “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. I don’t know the name of the landlord but we paid him. This property has lasted for over 40years.”

Reacting, Chairman of Anambra State Physical Planning Board (ANSPPB), Barr. Chike Mmaduekwe expressed worry over adamant disposition of the traders despite several warnings.

He warned illegal developers against building without approvals as it goes contrary to Governor 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 government. It used to be an open space before government dezoned 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 influencial will oppose the move. 

“Infact, one of them who blocked a water way 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 land owners if they want to be there. Government can’t afford to tolerate rightful owners of land being intimidated unnecesarily. 

“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.”

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