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Urban renewal: Imo engineers flay government’s demolition option

The Imo State Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers has criticised the state government’s Urban Renewal Programme over what it described as “unrestrained” destruction of property.

Rochas Okorocha

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State

The society’s Chairman, Mr Emeka Ugoanyanwu, said in a statement issued in Owerri, the state capital, on Thursday, July 5, 2018 that public and private property valued at N58 billion had been destroyed under the programme.

Ugoanyanwu stated that telecommunications and pipe borne water facilities destroyed were worth N25 billion.

According to him, Urban Renewal Programme does not entail the demolition of public and private property but a well-planned process that is strategically implemented with designs and modern inputs to attract investors.

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“The indiscriminate destruction of trees meant to protect the environment and ecosystem and planting concrete as a replacement, will have adverse effect on the environment.

“The execution of the programme with non-professionals is an embarrassment to registered and practicing engineers in the state.

“The society has communicated its position on the issue to the state government through the Ministry of Works.”

Ugoanyanwu wondered why the state government would not engage the professionals in its employ to execute the programme, to spare residents the untold hardship associated with the destruction of their businesses and residences.

He suggested that the programme should be carried out in phases following a 50-year master plan, in order to engender sustainability.

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He, therefore, urged the state government to halt the contractor handling the programme and re-evaluate the project with a view to redressing the anomalies.

By Ikechukwu Iweajunwa

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