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File photo: Building collapse

Enugu State Government has mapped out no fewer than 264 buildings along Timber Market, Abakpa Nike in Enugu East Local Government Area of the state for demolition following environmental infractions.

The structures include residential buildings and shops erected without compliance with the master plan of the area.

NAN reports that the decision was part of the ongoing demolition of illegal structures in the state capital by the state government through the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authorities (ECTDA).

The Chairman of the ECTDA, Mr Ken Onoh, disclosed this on Tuesday in Enugu during a routine tour of the affected locations.

Onoh said that the demolition had become inevitable due to the urgent need to abet nuisance in the area by restoring the original master plan of the locality.

The chairman also sealed a petrol station housing a gas plant and a mechanic workshop along Nike Lake Resort Road, Abakpa Nike for environmental degradation.

He said that the petrol station was capable of causing explosion as part of the premises had caved in and exposed some underground pipes due to flood blockage.

Onoh said that the petrol station would remain sealed until the owners conducted health and safety checks to ascertain the safety of the premises.

Also, the Special Adviser on Information to the Governor, Mr Steve Oruruo, said that the demolition was done pursuant to the Enugu State 2009 Law No. 5 as amended.

Oruruo said that arriving at the decision to demolish the illegal structures was a difficult one for the government as the governor recognised the pains of the people.

He however, said that the general benefit of the demolition outweighed its collateral damage.

He said that the move was to attract sanity and in line with the state government’s urban renewal mission.

On the pleas by the affected traders for government to allow the structures, Oruruo said: “Doing that will amount to allowing and compensating illegality.

“There should be adequate penalty for nonconformists who defy environmental laws and block waterways.”

Oruruo said that the state government was disciplined and would not tolerate any form of malfeasance that would lead to hardship on the people.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Building Materials Association, Abakpa Nike, Mr. Amarachi Ugwu has appealed to the state government to rescind the decision of demolition the structures.

Ugwu said that the demolition of the marked structures would affect the source of livelihood of over one million people including the traders and their dependents.

He said that they were ready to dialogue with the state government on the best possible ways to maintain sanity along that route which had become the major road leading to Northern Nigeria from the South East.

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