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Deputy Gov Holds Interactive Session With Onitsha Landlords, Urges Against Defacing Onitsha

By Julie Sylvia. Onitsha

Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim, on Monday said that the state government will no longer tolerate the defacing of Onitsha, the commercial nerve center of the state.

He sounded the note of warning during an interactive session with the landlords of Onitsha South local government area (LGA) at the council's secretariat.

The landlords lamented multiple levies being taken from them by illegal revenue collectors and urged the state government to come to their rescue.

According to the landlords, the multiple levies included, sanitation, property and development levies.

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 for collation of their used water while those that have, channel them into the Sakamori drainage system and Nwangene River thereby posing health threats to inhabitants of the city.

"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" 

"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 to people and this doesn't speak well of the largest commercial town in Sub Sahara Africa," he said.

Commissioner for Environment, Felix Odumegwu informed that the main thrust of the meeting is to sensitise the landlords on the need for clearing their drains, planting of trees as well as painting of their buildings.

He noted that there is a law by the state's legislature 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, 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.

Chief Orji said 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, 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 nine months the 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

" 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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