• Monday, June 24, 2024
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Abia rolls out bulldozers in Aba to restore city’s master plan

Experts seek new approach to construction to curb building collapse

The town planning authorities have started the demolition of illegal structures in the Aba area of Abia State, comprising Osisioma, Aba North, Aba South, Ugwunagbo and Obingwa, aimed at restoring the master plan of the Aba metropolis.

Chigozie Ahaiwe, executive secretary, Osisioma Ngwa Town Planning Authority, who is leading the demolition team, decried the manner residents erect structures without approval by the town planning authorities.

He explained that owners of the affected structures either did not get planning permits before building or built on public facilities, like pipelines, rail lines, and under electricity transmission lines.

“For instance, a proposed gas plant on Udeagbala road, Osisioma, was constructed on a Shell gas pipeline, which endangered the lives of innocent residents.

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“Another gas plant under construction which was demolished at Immaculate Street, also in Osisioma local government area, sat on a rail line.”

Ahaiwe said that the authorities never approved those sites and promised to continue the demolition exercise to sanitise the Aba metropolis and restore its master plan.

“Imagine a situation where somebody consciously constructed a gas plant along a gas pipeline. We equally demolished another gas plant along the Eastern Railway. So, those structures are not permitted there. Some we sealed equally blocked the road. People are building with impunity here”, he stated

He stated that the desire of the planning authorities was to have a beautiful city, and appealed to the residents to always seek advice from the town planning authorities before putting up any structure, so as not to lose their hard-earned money when the building is demolished.

“There are areas we can’t allow anyone to site a petroleum filling station. We’re not saying you should not build anything there, but we have different plans for different areas. You can’t site a petrol station or gas plant within a residential area.

“This exercise will continue because we must clear our streets and roads off some projections and extensions that block drainages. We’ll clear all those things and standards must return to this city.

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“Here, people put their resources at risk by building before seeking permits. They must realise that it is not everything that’s allowed”.

Speaking on buildings sealed on the premises of Azikiwe Road Primary School, Ahiwe said that the buildings do not have the permits of Aba South Local Planning Authority, noting that the developer never submitted any document to their office, which makes the structure illegal.

“We cannot say categorically that the government has allocated that place to anybody for now. However, if the developer can prove that the government duly allocated that place to him/her, we can now look at the development plans and approve them.

“But where the developer fails to prove that the government allocated that place to him, definitely, it has been built illegally on government land and it must go down”.

“Anybody that disregards our sealing order, the law will take its course. The law is clear on that. The planning authorities are here to serve the people and make our land a better place. We do not derive joy in destroying what people have erected.

“But our offices are open; before they embark on any development, they should come and get information about where is ideal for what development”, he said.