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The ongoing demolition exercise in Eagle Island in the Port Harcourt City Local Government Area of Rivers State has affected no fewer than ten thousand families. Our correspondent who visited the area reported that thousands of residents have been rendered homeless.
According to report reaching our newsdesk, the demolition exercise affected families who are residing in the make-shift buildings, popularly called “batchers”. Properties worth millions of naira were destroyed during the demolition exercise.
The demolition badly affected a densely populated area within the Eagle Island known as “Andoni village”. The demolition exercise is carrying out by the Rivers State Ministry of Urban Development and physical planning.
Reports had it that the Rivers State government decided to embark on the exercise due to increasing rate of crime in the area. In the past few months the Island is under siege, while notorious criminals and dreaded cultists are unleashing mayhem on the residents.
In a related development the Ministry of Urban Development and Physical Planning has given three (30) days ultimatum to all store owners to close shops. Sources hinted this weekly that the authorities of the Ministry had marked all blocks and well built shops in the area to be demolished within 21 days. Meanwhile house owners and traders have cried out by calling on Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike to come to their aid.
Speaking to our correspondent, Mr. Adokiye Fenibo pleaded with the Governor to restraint the Ministry from carrying out their demolition of shops and business centres saying that they (shops) are not batchers neither temporally structures, but well built with blocks. He sadly pointed out that if such demolition is to be carried out it would affect the livelihood of the people residing in the area.
Mrs. Joy Miller maintained that as far as the house owners appreciated what the governor is doing in the Eagle Island they will plead the governor to call the Commissioner in charge of the Urban Development, Hon. Chinyere Igew to order. She averred that the Island is a developing area; thus the government ought not to have done anything that will distort its developmental process.
According to her, to demolish shops in the Island is tantamount to create poverty and hardship in the area. Mrs. Miller appealed to the government to have a rethink before embarking on the demolition of blocks and well built shops in Eagle Island.
Responding Mr. Ebi Ayiba alleged that the demolished Andoni village, the land has already been allotted to government officials residing within and outside the Eagle Island.
Mr. Ebi Ayiba frowned at the attitude of the commissioner in charge of Ministry of Urban Development and Physical Planning, Hon. Chinyere Igwe towards the displaced persons. He accused the commissioner of land grabbing and illegal encroachment of people’s land.
Mr. Ayiba slammed Hon. Igwe for his hidden agenda of allocating to kinsmen. “Hon Igwe is promoting Ikwerre agenda,” Mr. Ayiba asserted.
Also speaking Mr. Chu Amadi said that Eagle Island is properly planned residential area mainly for civil servants in the old Rivers State. According to him during the planning and mapping of the Island in the then Diette Spiff’s administration, market, playground, church and mosque were provided for.
“But today the planning of the Island has been destroyed. Therefore in as much as I laud the governor for what he is doing, I will plead with the Rivers State government to do the needful to restore Eagle Island to its lost glory”, Mr. Amadi concluded.
However, a member of the Security Committee in the Island, who pleaded anonymity, frowned at the planned demolition of stores, which he said will bring untold hardship to the residents of the area. He called on the government to intervene before its gets out of hand.
He maintained that if government has such plans to demolish stores, it could have provided palliative measures before the commencement of the exercise. ###