Demolition in Akure


Ondo State Government’s current drive in the maintenance, upgrading and uplift of public environment through removal of structures from the roadsides appears to be generating some comments.

The exercise is aimed at making Akure, the  State capital beautiful and attractive to potential investors, visitors and tourists.  As laudable as this is, the way it is being done, however, calls for caution and a little touch of humanity. It is very good for our environment to be clean and beautiful but our survival as human beings, especially in the contemporary Nigerian situation where many citizens are living virtually on poverty level, requires utmost consideration.

Economic survival of the people as one of the basic needs for all living beings is as important as  shelter in order of human needs, while beautification of our cities is equally important.  Much as having a clean and beautiful environment is good, such should be done in a way that will not inflict much hardship on the citizens that are out to eke out a decent living.

In fairness to the present government of Ondo State, it inherited a state capital that needed to be given a face-lift.  Though, previous administrations in the state had embarked on a similar agenda, such did not register a tangible effort to make Akure worth its capital city status.  More importantly, they equally failed to implement the master plans for Akure and other major cities in the state, if there was any.

It is not ideal to see illegal structures, rowdy, endangered and lawless scenes littering the road sides in the capital city. The road sides which should be inviting with lush green parks, serene environment garnished with flowery scenes are congested with street trading, begging, hassling and even thuggery by some members of the NURTW who collect union’s dues on the road, thereby  impeding vehicular movement leading to traffic congestion.

Akure’s major roads look unkempt with illegal motor parks.  The question is: what are government officials whose duty it is to see to the approval of loading points, parks and erection of structures doing to have allowed shanty structures erected on the roads?

The current demolition exercise is traceable to corrupt tendencies of government  regulatory agencies which chose to look  the other way when these structures now sentenced for demolition were being put up.

The urban renewal and efforts to make the environment neater had always been jeopardised by the civil servants. It is very painful that government could not tame its hydra headed monstrous corrupt servants and now decides to pick on the  traders and others trying to make a living in open spaces as the whipping dogs.

It is our belief that as government embarks on the beautification project, proper education and information ought to have been carried out so as to reduce cost and the mental trauma involved and the psychological damages which the victims will have to grapple with.

We believe that the current economic situation, facing many Nigerians should not be compounded. Many unemployed graduates are setting up roadside “shops” out of frustration as there are no jobs after years of graduation.

Notably however, government means well by trying to make Akure beautiful; this should not be devoid of human face and consideration for those not privileged to have stable means of livelihood.  As these structures are being removed, some soft landing and cushioning effects should be put in place.

Corrupt civil servants encouraging and abetting construction on illegal places should be properly dealt with.

The Hope

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