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BY DENNIS OTU
The Director-General (Special Duties), office of the Delta State Governor, Chief Frank Omare has said that there was no going back in the ongoing demolition of buildings on waterways in the state, saying action was not to witch hunt anybody but for the good of the State.
The State Governor, His Excellency, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, according to the Director-General will be praised for the laudable things he is doing in the state at the end of the day.
In an exclusive interview in the oil-rich city of Warri, Chief Omare made it clear that for the State to be well organized, sanity restored and discipline maintained, many toes must be stepped on, adding that; “We have commenced the demolition of buildings on waterways in the State. We started in Warri and Uvwie local governments. People are just building houses recklessly without approvals from various ministries especially from Ministry of Urban Renewal. The responsibility of Government is to see how we can obey the law. So many people are feeling that they are above the law, they are thinking that the law do not exist, some of them are even thinking that there is no government. But we have to appreciate the fact that times have changed and we must do things right”.
“The rains and floods are coming and they are not going to select some persons, people are definitely going to be affected. We have educated the people, we gave them several notifications; that what you have done is against the law. What we are doing now are those approvals, those buildings that have no approvals at all that are standing on water channels all over the State and when we are done with those wrong approvals, the owners of the houses will meet with various agencies of government to talk about the way forward”, the Director-General said.
According to him, the requirement of the Urban Renewal plan is that people must give five meters away from either the road or the water channels, even if you are given an approval to build on those areas, saying that; “Give five meters, if not we are going to touch any kind of building there for the interest of the state and of course the people. It is a task that must be done, there is going to be a lot of sanity in terms of environmental protection”.
He disclosed that; “Presently, we are having six swamp buggies in every locations clearing all the natural waterways. DESOPADEC is doing the internal clearing of those small drainages, when rains fall, it will flow to the major canals and the main canals will take it to the Atlantic Ocean. Luckily enough in Ughelli, we have Atlantic Ocean, in Sapele, in Warri, in Uvwie, Udu, so we channel all of them, the flood will be reduced. Delta State Government, has awarded a contract of major drainage systems across the State and Warri and Uvwie are included. When government is constructing roads, some people will be building across expecting the drainages will pass so and so places and they are just building indiscriminately and of course we cannot compromise it, we must pull them down. It is very sad and sometimes sympathizing with them because times are hard after the people must have spent so much money in building and we know the cost of building materials and of course if we postpone it today what about tomorrow because that was how it was postponed yesterday, we must do the needful, but I am happy there is a lot of cooperation and we are not just going to demolish somebody house because you are our political enemy or you are not in our party, so it is not selective whether Labour Party, APC, PDP be you an Itsekiri man, Urhobo, Ijaw, Isoko man, an Igbo man, an Hausa man, anybody whose building is obstructing free flow of water should know that such a building must come down”.
While lamenting that used water bottles, used beer cans are more than the population of Delta State and blocking waterways in most parts of the state, he noted that; “It shows clearly they don’t have waste bins, they don’t have proper place to dispose their wastes, so every canal in the State is a dumpsites. We are going to carry out operation show your waste bin in all households and even the PSP, where are they disposing them, how are they managing the process? When all these are put in place by God’s grace by this administration, we will have a beautiful environment”.
“If you visit Warri Main Market, the people at the front are more than the shops, if you are selling a good product, wherever you are people will locate you, look at the extensions built at the front of the shops, they are under high tension wire; if any bad thing happen, what next? Who gave them approval? Anybody that has one bundle of zinc, they will go for extension and maybe beautify the front, you must give the minimum of three meters but because of the hard times, we can consider three meters, nobody should stay on the drainages anymore.
The Delta State Governor, His Excellency, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori has been so blackmailed for the very good thing he is doing. Chief Frank Omare has been called all types of names, threats to his life and members of my family, but the most important thing is that I am very satisfied with what we are doing, we are not out to witch hunt people. There are a lot of people applauding the Governor and he do not need to be applauded because it is one of the things he promised Deltans that he will do if voted into power. Definitely, some persons will cry while some will be happy”, he said.