Anambra State Government pulls down Structures affected by the unfortunate inferno. By Chidiebele Cy Obika
Anambra State Government yesterday, January 16, 2020, demolished buildings not suitable for habitation or business after structural integrity tests were conducted on them viz-a-viz the unfortunate Ochanja market fire that broke out on October 16, 2019.
The exercise was coordinated by the state Physical Planning Board at Emodi Plazas, Ochanja market, Onitsha where about five structurally deficient buildings were pulled down by the board’s officials.
Recall, on 16th October, 2019, a fuel tanker laden with premium motor spirit(pms) lost control at Upper-Iweka, Onitsha, spilled its content which ignited fire and gutted wares, shops, plazas and killed a mother, her child and others
Speaking during the exercise, the leader of the Taskforce team and Chairman/Managing Director of the Anambra State Physical Planning Board, Barr. Chike Maduekwe appreciated the leadership and members of the property owners in the location for their corporation in conducting the exercise.
Continuing, Barr. Maduekwe noted that the state engaged in the exercise for public safety as the Governor, Chief Willie Obiano was worried over the integrity of the affected structures and ordered that they be pulled down.
‘ When this whole place is cleaned up, we will use the opportunity to plan the area. Whatever that is going to be built here henceforth will be a model for other people to copy from’.
‘ The properties are owned by private individuals. Ours is to plan the area and assist them as much as we can to pull down the affected buildings and clear the debris’, Chief Chike concluded.
Chief Charles Uchenna Udegbe, a property owner in the location was full of happiness and praised the Governor and government of Anambra State for fulfilling all their promises to the traders and themselves. He recalled that when the unfortunate incident occurred in October last year, the governor called them and commiserated with them, held several meetings with them, compensated the fire victims and now helping them in pulling down the weak structutes in the market. He therefore thanked Gov. Obiano for hearing the cries of the traders and coming to their aid.
On his part, a brick layer in the area, Evang. Praise Nganodinma noted that the exercise was good as it was geared towards saving people’s lives.
However, he blamed the fire incident in the plazas on blocked drains which according to him would have been averted had the drains been open. He advised government to position waste bins in the area as traders dispose off solid wastes into the drains which hitherto clog up and stop proper flow of flood water which has been a big challenge in the area.
Meanwhile, the I-Witness media crew learnt that on 26th December, 2019; one of the affected plazas at number 24 Emodi Plaza collapsed but fortunately, no life was lost.