Abia State Government has started the demolition of illegal structures in Aba, saying everything must be done to restore the city’s master plan.
The demolition exercise which was carried out through a joint effort of the Osisioma Ngwa, Obingwa, Aba North, Aba South and Ugwunagbo Local Government Areas Town Planning Authorities, saw to the demolition of illegal structures and sealing of unapproved ones within Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State.
The exercise began from Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area with the sealing of a Petroleum Filling Station at Umuojima Junction, along the Aba-Enugu-Port Harcourt Highway which the owner was reported to have refused getting a permit before construction.
On Udeagbala Road also in Osisioma, over 26 lock-up stores built on the fence of Saint Silas Anglican Church, Ayaba-Umueze were sealed by the authorities because they were built under the electricity high-tension wire.
Equally on Udeagbala Road, two Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) plants built on a gas pipeline was demolished as the owner was said to have defied several warnings from the town planners.
A secondary school, Okpu-Umuobo Comprehensive Secondary School being built by the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) with a mini-stadium in Osisioma was sealed for not getting approval of the town Planning Authority.
In Aba North, several buildings were sealed for not getting approval from the authorities.
Speaking to journalists on behalf of his colleagues, the executive secretary, Osisioma Town Planning Authority, Chigoziri Ahaiwe said, “We’ve gone to various sites and none of them has a planning permit. The authorities never permitted those sites. Some were constructed under the high-tension lines, there are some of them we demolished that were constructed on a gas pipeline.
“If we all desire are good city, we must jointly sanitise it. We appeal to our people to always come to authorities to get approval before putting the money to construct what is not permitted in certain areas.
“There are areas we can’t allow any body to site a Petroleum Filling Station. We’re not saying you should not build anything there, but we have different things we approve for certain areas.
Speaking specifically on the building on Azikiwe Road Primary School, Ahiwe said, “That building does not have the permission of the authority. There are no documents the developer has submitted to our office.
“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, 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.”
He warned all those who will disregard the sealing order that nothing will stop the law from taking its course on them and equally advised all intending developers to visit the office of the Town Planning Authority in their various local governments to be properly guided.