The Government of Imo State, yesterday, sealed up a petrol station opposite Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC,) located along Akwakuma, Orlu Road, Owerri because of lack of approval and for destroying social infrastructure.
Deputy Governor of Imo, Prince Eze Madumere accompanied by the General Manager of Owerri Capital Development Authority (OCDA), Barrister Chidebere Nwogu said apart from calls it received from residents of the area, government could not have allowed a gas station to be located in a densely populated area because of the grave danger, which it poses to the residents in case of possible fire outbreak.
Prince Madumere also observed that the owner of the petrol filling station had flagrantly destroyed the Road median by night; the illicit act he said led to the arrest of some of those involved who were caught in the act in the wee hours of last Sunday, even as the mastermind is still at large. He also decried the encroachment into the major roads of Akwakuma, which has created room for future flood incidences, which is avoidable.
Speaking to the newsmen after the OCDA had sealed the fuel Station, Prince Madumere urged businessmen in the State to always pass through proper procedures in situating their businesses in order to make room for proper assessment of the impacts their projects may have on the people and the environment.
On issue of vandalizing public facilities, Prince Madumere said, in his words, “Basically, my worry is the occurrences of destruction of government property. It is unacceptable to this government and that we cannot continue to lerate it. At about 1:30 amon Sunday morning, I was passing through Akwakuma, I saw a number of young men destroying part of the median constructed by this government to control flood, check traffic and accidents. Initially, the vigor with which they were performing this destructive job, I mistook them for legitimate workmen, but realizing it could not have been since there was no sign indicating who they are, I alighted and they made to run. This led to the arrest of some of them. We later discovered they were paid to destroy the median. This has been the unfortunate experiences. It is not fare for the government to use public fund to provide amenities only to be vandalized by few lawless rascals.”
Imo Deputy Governor therefore said that the government has resolved to seal the petrol station, saying they owners will be held responsible for the vandalized median and road, which he said must be fixed. He used the opportunity to call on the people of the State to be vigilant and provide any useful information to get to those behind vandalization of government property and other dastardly act.
On his part, the General Manager of OCDA, Barrister Nwogu said the authority was unaware of the approval of the site for the gas station, even as he added that sealing it up was the best thing to do to avoid the danger of possible fire accident that may cause a collateral damage on residential area.
In his words, “This is a densely populated area and we cannot approve it, because if there’s any fire outbreak it would be very difficult to contain by the fire fighters thereby posing a serious danger to both the residents and business facilities in the area.”
“The authority (I.e. OCDA) posited that development of property must follow due process, wondering how somebody could just build anything without approval, an act he described as grave disappointing level of lawlessness and recklessness.
He clarified that people often mistake OCDA for a mere revenue outfit of the government, but rather interested in standards and safety of the people first. That is why we care less about money but the life of our people and environment. There is a master plan for every district and every building whether private or business must get approval.
Some of the residents of the area spoke with newsmen expressing worries that the construction was badly located and feared that it could cause a possible flood and fire disaster in the area, praying Government to intervene to save them from avoidable danger.