Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State, has maintained that the state government will go ahead to demolish about 200 houses marked for the exercise at Onitsha, the commercial city of the state.
We learnt that the state physical town planning board had earlier marked the houses for demolition for blocking the drainage systems in the Onitsha metropolis.
The state governor had recently embarked upon the clearing and desilting exercise in the Onitsha communities, to restore the glory of the metropolis.
Soludo, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Onyekachukwu Ibezim, stated this on Wednesday, during a meeting with the affected landlords at the Onitsha South Secretariat, Onitsha.
Addressing the landlords on the need for them to start the gradual removal of the structures, the governor said the state government will adopt the carrot and stick approach.
He said, “You will see us in action if you disobey. The government will come hard on anyone who attempt to disturb the flow of work. We have all it takes to demolish the buildings, just dynamite and the buildings go in a few seconds. We are not coming for a second meeting again with you people.
“There are so many dump sites near residential buildings and water must find its course even if you try to stop it. We don’t want to use force to do it because we are people oriented.”
Also speaking, the transition committee chairman of Onitsha South Local Government Area, Mr Emeka Asoanya, said that, “Some churches were built on the drainages and when you confront those who built them, they will boast that they own the government.
Asoanya, therefore, urged the state government not to look at whose ox is gored in the demolition exercise since the motive was for urban renewal.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees, Importers Association of Nigeria, Chief Gilbert Bravo, urged the state government to apply human face in handling the issue and pay compensation to those who have genuine Certificate of Occupancy.
“If you built on drainages there will not be compensation for you. I also want the government to fix the roads and clear the mountains of refuse that have sacked the area,” he added.
One of the buildings affected is the church of a popular pastor, Chukwuemeka Ohanaemere, popularly called Odumeje. The property is located on Bida Road, Fegge, Onitsha.