Over 1,000 shops faces demolition in Anambra as commissioner, others visit market
Lawrence Nwimo, Awka
No fewer than one thousand structures have been marked for demolition by Governor Soludo -led government in the busy Ochanja market, Onitsha Anambra State.
The demolition follows the plan of Anambra State governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo to make Anambra a liveable homeland that will cost many home and shop owners their property.
The state government had last week already commenced the demolition of buildings and structures considered to be sitting on drainages and waterways.
Among those already demolished are two Catholic Churches, and another pentecostal church owned by controversial Pastor, Chukwuemeka Ohanaemere, alias Pastor Odumeje.
Anambra State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Dr Obinna Ngonadi, Friday, went around Ochanja Central Market to inspect the stalls marked for demolition.
The inspection was carried out in the company of the Chairman of Anambra State Physical Planning Board, Mr Chike Maduekwe.
Speaking during the visit, Ngonadi reiterated that the State Government will not condone the indiscriminate erection of structures in market spaces without approval from relevant authorities.
He said that the government has directed that market executives or developers planning to erect any structure inside the market should first obtain a letter of recommendation from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, before proceeding for approval from the State Physical Planning Board.
The Commissioner frowned at the sight of some structures inside Ochanja which are still under construction but are already on the verge of collapsing even as traders have fully occupied the stalls, insisting they could have fatal consequences to the lives of both traders and buyers.
He recalled a similar situation where a badly constructed market building in Ochanja collapsed and killed some traders while others sustained varying degrees of injuries, stressing that such structures must be demolished.
“The lives of the citizens of Ndi Anambra mean a lot to our Governor Prof Charles Soludo, and we must make things right”.
He also spotted a fire truck parking lot where an illegal structure was constructed thereby encroaching on the right of way of the vehicle in case of fire incidence in the market, saying that that was illegality and would be addressed.
In his address, the Chairman of the State Physical Planning Board Mr Chike Maduekwe said that Anambra State Materials Testing Laboratory will be invited to test the structural integrity of the stalls marked for demolition.
According to him, those that pass the test would come for approval and guidelines for amendment, those that failed will come down.
“As you can see when we were walking around the market, many traders were complaining, calling us and showing us parts of the building blocks that are falling on them as they lose and detach from building walls” he added.