Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
Enugu State government has announced that at least 1, 000 structures erected on waterways and drainage channels within the capital city have been marked for demolition following the sudden flooding in some parts of the metropolis.
Commissioner for Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA), Hon. Chidi Aroh made the disclosure when he conducted members of the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), State Emergency Agency (SEMA), Institute of Town Planners, state House of Assembly, Committee of Capital Territory, NESREA and newsmen round some of the 141 affected sites.
He said there no going back on the government decision. It is feared that some church buildings as well as school buildings would be affected by the planned demolition exercise when it takes off. The immediate past administration of Barrister Sullivan Chime had embarked on similar exercise which sparked off wild spread lamentations especially from those who were affected by the action.
Aroh said about 1,000 structures within the Enugu metropolis were built on waterways, drainage channels and on top of public utilities, an act that has exposed the state to flooding and its attendant dangers.
Already, the Enugu State House of Assembly has urged the state government to use drastic action to check the looming flood disaster in the state, just as it urged the ECTDA to implement, without further delay, the existing law on the Enugu metropolis master plan which the illegal structures contravened.
Aroh said during the visit to some of sites that “we have issued ‘Stop Work Order’ to over 141 sites in the metropolis but they have consistently defied the order.
“All the sites have received more than five orders instructing the developer to stop work because none of them had approval from ECTDA to build the structures. All the buildings marked were built on waterways, drainage channels, on top of public utilities and without set-backs from river banks.
“This is now a matter of national security because Enugu metropolis, if nothing is done fast, will be submerged in no distant future. We will embark on demolition of these buildings in line with our mandate and existing enabling law to avert the danger of flood looming in the state. Some of the developers built on top of railway line while some built right inside the river.
“They reclaim land by sand filling the area and also obstruct natural waterway. This action will conscript the flow of water and redirect the water flow to another area. The houses obstruct natural flow of water which makes the river fight for an escape route. That is why you see lagoons springing up in parts of the metropolis.”