By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu
Residents of Amudo Village Aroma Awka , Awka South local government area Anambra state weekend protested over illegal construction of a gas plant within their residential area.
They cried out to Governor Willie Obiano in a protest letter addressed to him when they suspected inaction from the leadership of Awka Capital Territory Development Authority, (ACTDA). They want the gas plant relocated permanently.
Following their protest, the Awka Capital Territory Development Authority, (ACTDA) led by it’s Managing Director, Ven Barrister Amaechi Okwuosa visited the site and sealed off the gas plant till further notice.
Ven Okwuosa who led his team to the site adjacent to No 32 Stanford road Aroma Awka on Friday afternoon announced the closure of all forms of activities at the site till investigations are concluded by his office.
The residents under the aegis of Concerned Neighbours and Inhabitants of Bishop Maxwell Anikwenwa Avenue Amudo Aroma, first wrote a protest letter on 26th May, 2021 notifying ACTDA and the ministry of Environment, Beautification and Ecology to stop the construction. They want the gas plant removed Permanently from that location.
They later revisited their petition as a reminder on 2nd July ,2021 accusing the government agency, ACTDA of inaction, necessitating the sudden appearance of the Managing Director to the gas plant site and it’s sealing off
The residents in their seven point petition to ACTDA signed by fourteen representatives of the Amudo Village Aroma Awka residents, called for immediate relocation of the site to where there are no residential buildings and suitable area for such business.
The signatories on behalf of others include Prof Anthony Eze, Pastor Ezeugo Ozoemena C., Barr UC Enwereuzo, Sir Engr C Y Anetoh, Onyeyili Tochukwu and Sir Unwind J. I.
Others are Mrs Joy Andy Agbia, Mr Emmanuel Nwokolo, Chijioke Agbasiere, Engr Aniebue Anthony, Mr Ohazulume Gilbert , Mr Ukah G.I , Mr Eloka Ikenwa N and Mr Nebe Patrick Nwoyeoka.
Their petition was entitled: ” Notice of illegal construction of Gas Plant Within A residential area adjacent to No. 32 Standford Road Aroma Awka and request for stopping of work to prevent imminent danger: save our soul call”.
According to www.odogwublog.com investigations, the statement read in part: ” we the inhabitants of Bishop Maxwell Anikwenwa Avenue Amudo Village Awka and Aroma neighborhood Awka, Anambra state do humbly bring to your notice the illegal construction of a cooking gas plant within our neighborhood by someone suspected to be the owner of NIPCO filling station Ifite road ,Aroma Awka, Anambra state.
” We are aware that approval for the illegal construction and location of a cooking gas plant within a residential area could not have been made by your office (ACTDA) considering the hazardous nature of gas explosion frequently experienced by people and inhabitants who reside within the area where these dangerous businesses are operated coupled with its attendant loss of lives and property.
” We are also aware that Environmental Impact Assessment (E.I.A) and risk Assessment (R.A) ought to be conducted before the commencement of the project in question and it is our firm belief that such steps were not taken and no right thinking officer of any state department would approve the location and construction of a gas plant within the area in question having known the risk and danger associated with such business contemporary.
” Consequent upon the above stated facts, we humbly pray you to use your good office to stop further construction on the site and effect immediate relocation of the site to a location where there is no residential building and more suitable area or location for such business.
” This save our soul call is brought to your notice for necessary action”.
Efforts by www.odogwublog.com to get one of the residents, Prof Anthony Eze to speak on the issue at stake outside the group petition and protests for relocation of the gas plant failed.
Sealing off the gas plant site, the Managing Director of ACTDA, Venerable Barrister Amaechi Okwusa said his agency after due diligence decided that the site be sealed indefinitely to give room for further investigation.
He reiterated that no work or transaction should be carried out on the site even as he warned that anyone found violating the order will face the full wrath of the law.
Venerable Okwusa stated that ACTDA has a procedure for evaluating such cases and that the recent order will be well documented.
He also sounded a note of warning to those who wish to construct gas plants, petrol stations and other structures for the distribution of inflammable products to follow the procedure required in siting such structures.
Venerable Okwusa explained that even after other governmental authorities incharge of approvals have granted their authorizations for siting of projects like gas plant , the local authority which is ACTDA has the final say. His stand off attitude, this medium reports didn’t give room for questions after his brief.
www.odogwublog.com reports that in his reaction,the Manager of NIPCO filling station, Mr Tony Ogudo purported to be owners of the gas station wondered why that gas plant should be a problem for a cross section of people, when such project is scattered in and around Awka as references. He alluded that some people were somewhere beating the drums for the actors petitioning against the laudable project around that Aroma industrial city location.
He noted that the company establishing the gas plant got all required and necessary approvals before embarking on the construction and lamented why personal ego of some set of people should override a project for communal interest.
He stated further that the gas plant did not only pay for charges by national and local regulatory bodies but adhered to all regulatory bodies their guidelines including Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and erection of a buffer fence in establishing the gas plant and wondered what went amiss for the harrasment they are experiencing in establishment of the gas station.