*Reads riot act to street traders, builders of illegal structures, and encroachers —
By JAMES EZE*
Commercial motorbike (okada) operators in Onitsha and Awka have been given up until July 1, 2018, to change to another trade or vacate the two cities for good.
This was one of the many resolutions from the meeting of the Anambra State Executive Council today, Tuesday, May 22, 2018. The ultimatum given to okada operators in the two cities is part of the overall strategy adopted by the state government to deepen its crackdown on crime and restore sanity to Onitsha and Awka.
Similarly, residents of some make-shift structures on the banks of the River Niger stretching from Onitsha to Ogbaru have been given up until August 1, 2018, to relocate from those places along the waterfront as they have been marked for demolition. This is also a part of the campaign against the men of the underworld in the state.
The deadlines given to okada operators and the shanty-dwellers are intended to offer them enough time to make the necessary adjustments in order to fit into the emerging socio-cultural scenario in the state.
Other far-ranging resolutions of the Council include the establishment of a Committee on Environment with a mandate to clean up Anambra State — clearing out garbage dumps and overflowing drainages and demolishing illegal structures that are either obstructing the way or ruining the aesthetics of the Anambra environment. The committee is expected to sustain the on-going campaign to put an end to roadside trading that often leads to avoidable traffic congestion and return sanity to the roads and highways of Anambra State.
Reinforcing the hard-line posture of his administration against street-trading and erection of illegal structures across the state, Governor Willie Obiano specifically commended the agencies behind the on-going demolition exercise in the state, urging them to sustain the momentum until the state begins to wear a better look. He also sent a note of warning to owners of illegal structures along the famous Awka Road in Onitsha, saying that very soon the demolition team would sweep through the area.
He frowned at the current practice by Awka residents who sometimes dump their waste bins right in the middle of Zik Avenue and warned that anyone caught doing that would pay a heavy penalty.
The governor further announced that important public places like the Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Alex Ekwueme Square and the vast premises of the Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) would soon be given a facelift and properly remodelled to fit into the dynamics of the day.
According to him, the Amphitheatre of the Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre would be redesigned to serve as a stadium and completed as soon as possible.
The governor also frowned at the spate of daring encroachment on government land in the state by speculators and warned that there would be severe consequences for anyone who wanted to flagrantly break the law.
*Eze is the chief press secretary to the governor of Anambra State (email@example.com)