Deputy Gov On Interactive Section With Onitsha Landlords, Warns On defacing Onitsha

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By Julie Sylvia, Onitsha

The Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim, on monday warned that the state government would no longer tolerate the defacing of Onitsha, the commercial nerve center of the state.

He sounded the note of warning during an interactive section with the landlords of Onitsha south local government area at the council Secretariat.

The Landlords lamented multiple levies being extorted from them by illegal revenue collectors stating that the state Government should come to their rescue.

According to the landlords, the multiple levies included, sanitation, property and development levies which did not go down well with the landlords.

The Deputy Governor in his speech, pledged to come to their rescue but observed that most houses in Onitsha do not have soak away pits while those that have, channel them into the Sakamori drainage system and Nwangene river thereby causing health hazards to inhabitants.

He said, “The essence of this meeting is for us to interface with you all, the landlords on the need to clear the blocked drains, clear the refuse dumps , plant trees and paint your buildings to give this place a face lift”

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“We have discovered that most buildings in Onitsha town do not have soak away pits and those that have empty their waste into the Sakamori drainage and Nwangene river and this is causing health hazards among people and this doesn’t speak well of the largest commercial town in the sub Saharan Africa ” he said.

Commissioner for Environment Engr Felix Odumegwu noted that the main trust of the meeting with landlords is to sensitize them on the need to clearing the drains , planting of trees as well as painting of buildings.

He noted that there is a law by the state Assembly on those issues adding that government cannot use the big stick now but would engage the stakeholders before taking actions against defaulters.

Chairman, Onitsha South local government Area, Chief Emeka Joseph Orji explained that in the last one year his administration has been able to enforce cleanliness and removal of illegal structures and shops built on top of the culverts.

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Orji stated that the Council area would stop at nothing to put Onitsha in its position adding that there shall be no sacred cows as those that are against the law would face the music.

Chairman, Urban Regeneration Council, Arch Michael Okonkwo, noted that the state government wished to replicate what is seen at the developed countries adding that it would put Onitsha in the world map of Cities that have enabling environment for business and healthy living.

” We were sent here by the Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Charles Soludo to come and meet the Landlords of Fegge, Onitsha South, because governor has built fegge as the major point of urban degeneration, it is more than 9 months governor has been here, Governor said urban degeneration has to follow with the roads as part of the degeneration that is going on.

“So we have an agenda to come and discuss with the landlords to talk about cleanliness of their buildings, making sure that the drainages are free. The agenda we have on painting is to guide not to impose, we will talk with them on their choice and make sure that it worked with general concept

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” There must be structure not just anyhow., I was telling them that any space you have,you can put soil, you can equally put trees in it, bring trees that will clean our environment, that tree will guide them

Speaking earlier the spokesman of the Fegge landlords Chief Ignatius Agabarugo noted that they are ready to cooperate with the state government but lamented the extortion of landlords by suspected touts adding that when a landlord is carrying out the renovation of buildings the boys (touts) will come to demand for money.

He further urged government to look into double taxation and payment of property rates which according to him has been a rip off on the landlords.

Among dignitaries that attended the meeting included, the member representing Onitsha South 1 in the state House of Assembly, Hon.Fred Ezenwa

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