In furtherance of its role of giving Awka, the capital city of Anambra State a befitting status, Awka Capital Territory Development Authority, ACTDA, has demolished some more shanties in the capital city.
The demolition exercise, which was carried out along a street nicknamed Abada Lane by the occupants, which is a stone-throw away from the Unizik Junction axis of the Enugu—Onitsha expressway, saw buildozer pull down shanties blocking the street and ‘scoop’ the debris into a standby tipper, for evacuation, amid tight security, for adequate enforcement.
The security and enforcement team comprised of men and officers of Nigeria police, army, Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra (OCHA Brigade), and the ACTDA enforcement team, who witnessed and monitored the exercise, as the buildozer cleared up the shanties and opened up the street from the other end to the newly built Akuzulora Plaza, along the Enugu—Onitsha expressway.
Speaking on the purpose of the exercise, the MD/CEO, Awka Territory Development Authority (ACTDA), Ven. Amaechi Okwuosa said the demolition was preceeded by several vacation noticed being served the people since last year, but which they ignored or neglected.
He said the occupants blocked the street with shanties, which also served as criminals’ hideouts for perpetrating different kinds of crimes in the area and also constituted obstruction to motorists and pedestrians from plying the road.
He noted that the demolition would serve as deterrent to other defiant shanties owners and land developers who did not get approval from the Authority before embarking on their constructions, Ven. Okwuosa, who is also a legal practitioners, assured that the Authority will continue to carry its lawful duty.
In a reaction, one of the persons affected by the demolition, who simply gave her name as Frasisca, lamented that she had lost everything she had, as her container and all its contents were destroyed and evacuated by the enforcement team.
Mrs. Fransisca, a bread and mineral drinks seller, popularly known in the area as Nwunye Abada, said the demolition was sudden and most surprising to her, as she was never served any notice before the execution.
She said, “I woke up this morning and went market to buy some things, only to come back and see that all the breads and drinks I recently bought and stored in my container have been destroyed, packed into tipper and carried away by this people. Just like that! No warning, no notice, nothing nothing; and my container and all my goods were destroyed and packed away.”
“Where will I start from now?” she continued, “why didn’t they, at least, give us warning and some days to pack out our things, if this place is actually blocking anything for them? Are they not human beings that have feelings and empathy?”
Mrs. Fransisca further said she had been doing business in area since 1992, and explained that her container did not block road, as pedestrians, Eastern Mass buses and other vehicles had been passing there freely without any obstruction, hence her surprise when she saw the demolition.
While calling for compensation, and assistance from good-spirited individuals, she, however, alleged that the demolition may have been facilitated by the owner of Akuzulora Plaza, which was newly built in the area, as government had never confronted them or thought of demolishing anything around there until now that the plaza has been sited and is almost ready to begin operation.
Contributing, an eyewitness and resident in the area, Mr. Mike Obiorah, said it was only the owners of the shanties in front of the new plaza that were served notice, and further narrated that the demolition team and the buildozer earlier concentrated on those shanties in front of the plaza, until one of the ACTDA officials signaled them to “in fact, clear everything and open up the entire street.”