It is astonishing how some people acquire land and start building structures that violate the physical planning of the state. The owners of these structures never care a hoot about getting approvals from the Physical Planning Department of the government. These buildings end up obstructing originally planned roads, drainages and sundry passageways, parks and gardens.
The government cannot afford to stay idly by while this chaos reigns. There is no escaping the first move that Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo made immediately after his swearing-in when he visited the slums of Okpoko and laid the marker that illegal structures must be pulled down. Governor Soludo is not given to half measures, and all offenders will surely be made to pay the price.
It needs to be recalled that whilst addressing Onitsha landlords, Mr. Governor had said, “You will see us in action if you disobey. The government will come hard on anyone who attempts to disturb the flow of work. We have all it takes to demolish the buildings. We are not coming for a second meeting again with you people. There are so many dumpsites 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.”
All it takes is the will, and Governor Soludo has stood up to be counted. Anambra can be set right once the devil-may-care miscreants across board are put in their places. A properly planned Anambra State will yield diverse dividends in architectural beauty and cleanliness.
Nobody can suborn the due process now that the government is determined to redress the past wrongs in building construction across the state. The masterplan of Anambra State must perforce be properly set on course by making sure that these illegally constructed structures are put out of the way.
One such pathetic case is the building of shops on the park clearly marked-out for the parking vehicles in Onitsha Main Market. It flies in the face of reason that a place where vehicles are meant to park in a marketplace has without any approval whatsoever been converted to a construction site for shops. It is a mark of primitive evil for odious characters to think up the abnormality of a market existing without providing access to vehicles by building up the space marked out as the parking lot.
It is crucial to note that the park in question has been in existence for over six decades. The fact is not hidden at all that the place is supposed to serve as where people park their vehicles when they come to the market. Government is left with no other option in its determination to recover the parking space to serve its original purpose.
Anambra State cannot be reduced to a lawless fiefdom where “anything goes” for ill-assorted influence peddlers. There are laid out processes for the acquisition of land and the construction of structures. It is a great pity that the due processes have mostly been observed in the breach. The lawless ones have no one to blame for the punishment coming.
The government is therefore seizing the opportunity to warn developers and individual builders to get the necessary approvals from the Physical Planning Department and all other relevant agencies before they commence all constructions in the state. The underhand dealings of bribing touts to breach the proper procedures can no longer be tolerated. It would indeed be counter-productive to build illegally only to have it pulled down after having spent so much money in the unapproved construction.
The cutting of corners also leads to the growing incidence of building collapse. The purveyors of indiscriminate buildings engage in bad design, poor construction, foundation failure, use of inferior building materials, illegal conversion of buildings, employment of quacks, non-adherence to professional advice, and adulteration of town-planning regulations, etc.
In the past, there had been the failure of regulation and monitoring which has now been redressed. The requisite regulatory authorities are in place to regulate all activities in the property and allied sectors. Given the Soludo Solution drive, every stage of the construction process and stipulated regulations must be strictly adhered to.
The process is afoot to flush out all corrupt town planning officials issuing building permits to non-professionals thereby making the construction industry an all-comers affair as well as giving dubious approvals for sub-standard buildings.
The building construction process in Anambra State must henceforth adhere to all the set rules. The prevalent indiscriminate construction of structures can no longer fly. Once the structures are properly planned, Anambra State would be set on the way to becoming the best planned city-state as envisioned by the Governor of Anambra State, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo.
Sir Paul Nwosu is the Commissioner for Information, Anambra State.
Photo: Sir Paul Nwosu, Anambra State Commissioner for Information.
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