Anambra state government has demolished over a hundred shops under construction sitting on 997,406 square meters at Electrical International Market, Obosi in Idemili North Council Area of the state.
The shops contained in a long plaza was still under construction.
It was gathered that the developer had been served notices to stop work and was referred to the State Ministry of Lands for proper verification.
He however ignored the warnings, claiming he bought the land from Obosi community.
There were also reports of the developer deploying thugs to continue work, when development control officers of the state visited the place, when the work was ongoing.
The Anambra State Physical Planning Board, ANSPPB had also carried out a partial demolition of the building but in December 2022, the developer had mobilized back to site and began to erect the structures again.
During the latest demolition exercise, TNC correspondent observed that the location of the shops made it impossible for vehicles to bring in goods to existing warehouses on both sides.
Speaking during the exercise, the Chairman of the State Physical Planning Board, Chike Maduekwe made it clear that the portion of the land is among those tagged ‘parcel D’ which means government land.
According to him, the market is on government land and the state government had acquired the land and compensation paid to the Obosi people.
Maduekwe, who led the State Joint Enforcement Taskforce on demolition of illegal structures, revealed that the developer had remained adamant on continuing the project, even when he was duly notified that the land is government land.
“This place is a road for vehicles to move through and discharge goods to the market and you see what the developer is doing.
“We warned him and he persisted. I then sent him to Ministry of Lands because the policy in the state today is that you cannot develop anything on government land without approval from the Ministry of lands.
“Eventually, he went to Lands and made the same findings and he was told not to build. Suddenly, during the Christmas holidays, we got petitions that he has started building and I called him and told him to stop, that this was a road in the masterplan.
“He ignored it.
“We sent our staff from Idemili North to come and paste demolition notices here and stop work but he brought a lot of young men to surround him and they were building and suddenly, the building had gone up to lintern level.
“How will goods come into all these shops here, no way.
“So, that’s why we are here to pull down this structure,” he said.
The ANSPPB Chairman said the developer will be charged to court to ensure that he pays for the cost of the demolition, warning other such developers to desist from such.
According to him, this is the new policy of the state.
“This is a tedious work, as you can see the machines are trying to remove the rods and make it easy for the loaders to clear everything and create the road that was here before.
“It is costing us a lot of money to do this kind of work and the Governor has directed that anywhere we have to do this kind of work after warning the people and they still go ahead to do this kind of illegality, we would remove them and charge the developer to court to recover the huge amount of money the state expends in undertaking this kind of work.
“Government cannot continue to fund the irresponsibility of citizens who have no respect for the law,” the ANSPPB boss stated.
He explained that the exercise is part of the vision of the Governor Chukwuma Soludo administration, to sanitize the markets and make them conducive for business and commercial activities as well as the urban regeneration plan of government.
This vision, he said, is to build a liveable and prosperous homeland for all Anambra residents.
He said; “Most of these markets are in the urban areas and the governor’s initiative is that these markets being centres of trade and commerce must also be centres of excellence and anyone who tries to thwart such plans will be made the full embrace of the law.
“Unfortunately, there are lots of people who feel they can do anything and get away with it, thinking that with money they can do anything they want. But, the Soludo administration has said it is a government of rule of law.
“That’s why we appeal to Anambra state citizens to support the government to stop these kinds of illegalities that cause them and even the government hardship,” he pleaded.
Some owners of shops close by who would not want to be mentioned, commended the state government for taking the bold step to save them from the rascality of the developer, which they noted is causing them a lot of hardship.
According to them, they are in full support of the government’s efforts to make life better for them.