As May 29, the inauguration day for the new Governor-Elect including that of the Abia, Dr. Alex Otti, is fast approaching, a Rights Advocacy group, Foundation For Environmental Rights, Advocacy and Development (FENRAD) an Environmental & Human Rights Advocacy Development organization has set up an AGENDA on the incoming administration in Abia on Recovery/Rebuilding of Aba.
In a statement signed by the FENRAD executive director, Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor, and obtained by AbaCityBlog, the group said there’s no doubt that rebuilding or probably building Abia is one of the most difficult things for a leader to do considering the number of years the state has suffered at the hands of accidental leaders who were never prepared to lead.
Also, FENRAD stressed that recovering and building Abia State will not be a useful AGENDA if Aba is not on top of that agenda considering the potential the city has in Eastern Nigeria, Nigeria and entire Africa.
Going forward, FENRAD, an Environmental Advocacy Group., enlisted three missions in Aba the New Governor Dr Alex Otti has, which, one of the missions is to recover, the other is to rebuild and the last is to build.
This particular mission is necessary only in the Aba Crown Land (The Main Town). The reason why this particular place only needs recovery and not any form of rebuilding or building is that it’s the only well-planned territory dating back to the colonial era and still retains its plans despite encroachment.
To be specific From Factory Road, down to Weeks Road cutting across the GRA, Eziukwu Road, Park Road, Pound Road, Milverton Avenue, Ojike Lane, St Michael’s Road, Hospital Road, Jubilee Road, Azikiwe Road, Market Road, Tenant Road, Cameroun Road, Ehi Road, Clifford Road, School Road and Weeks Road.
The majority of these roads in the Crown Land were well-planned stretches from the Aba Railway Portion of Ogbonnaya Road and Terminated at the Aba River by East Street. Other adjoining portions included in the Main Town that needs only recovery are Adazi Street, York Street, Ube Street, George’s Street, Ochefu Street, Nsulu Street, Ndoki Road, Ulasi Road, Etche Road, East Street, Mosque Street, Danfodio Road, Akwete Street, Old Court, Okwunauka Street, Kent Street, Asa Triangle, St Joseph, Scotland Crescent, Hollwel Crescent, Constitution Crescent and River Layout.
it is worthy to note that all these roads and streets mentioned were well planned and are controlled by one Central Drainage that stretched around them all linking and connecting all of them from the Aba General Hospital, down to the Christ The King Cathedral (CKC), moved from Asa Triangle to School Road down to East Street and emptied at the Aba River.
There is still another connection from Margaret Avenue down to Constitution Crescent to Aba River which is the main reason why the Aba Main Town hardly witness any form of flooding except when the manhole visible displayed in the well-planned adjoining streets was blocked by reckless human behaviour and reckless government reconstruction works that made it impossible for storm water to move through those well-planned drainages.
As we write, shops and many business centres now sit on the top of these drainages, especially in places like Hospital, Road, Jubilee Road and Saint Michael’s Road making it impossible for any form of drainage evacuation to take place. This planned area of Aba must be recovered to make it inhabitable again while funds for the building will be channelled to areas that need it.
Another thing that needs to be recovered in the Crown Land (Aba Main Town) is the existing empty spaces of land in between each building (Sanitary Lane) which was mapped out by the British Town Planners for safety, sanitation and environmental friendliness.
Today, the Sanitary Lane and the other empty space of land left at the back of each building in the Aba Crown Land have been encroached on by greedy landlords who have erected both boys’ quarters and shops on those spaces that made our city better and properly ventilated.
let it not be twisted that the past governments in Abia supported this environmental terrorism by collecting approval from these people and equally charging them a fee called SANITARY LANE FEE which they pay to the Local Government every year for encroaching on that Lane which is not their land. This is one of the reasons why Aba Main Town is looking uninhabitable today.
Another anti-environmental activity going on in Aba Crown Land that should be stopped to recover the land is the mass exodus of residents from the area as a result of the acquisition of the buildings for parking stores, clothing material shops, warehouses, tailoring shops, Tricycle Shops, Tricycle Accessories Shop, Engine Oil Shops, Phone accessories shops, printing press, Beverages and Food Items Shops, Warehouses, Mechanic Villages and SpareParts Shops)
All these above-listed activities are ongoing in places like St Michael’s Roads (Phone Accessories), Hospital Road (Electrical Accessories and Tricycle Shops/Warehouses), Jubilee Road (Tricycle Accessories and Engine Oil Shops), Pound Road (Kitchen Utensils Shops), Market, Tenant and Cameroun Roads (Beverages and Food Items Shops and Warehouses), Ehi Road (Printing Press), Clifford, School Road and Echefu Street (Mechanic Villages and SpareParts Shops).
FENRAD have taken our time to study this development and we discovered that these activities have succeeded in making the Aba Crown Land uninhabitable for humans thereby chasing people who cannot cope with semi-industries existing in their residential homes into places like Ogbor-Hill, Over-Rail, Osisioma etc, leaving a well-planned part of Aba meant to be residential area to suddenly become SME centres which are why whenever businesses close, Aba Main Town will become a ghost town.
This is also the main cause of the constant fire incidents we witness in Main Town as the majority of the houses that were built as residential homes are now semi-industrial hubs housing machines that ought not to be there for any reason in the first place.
It will interest to know that well-planned Roads like Hospital Road, St Michael’s, Jubilee, Etche Raod and Pound Road despite their beauty now house more goods than humans as rich businessmen are buying old houses knocking them down and building warehouses, malls pushing out humans from a place they ought to dwell.
This is why we deem it necessary to call on your government to recover Aba Main Town, restore it as human habitat first and show the people that they deserve a good environment while businesses should be relocated to areas mapped out for it by the previous government or the one your government can create.
This is needed in areas like Over-Rail, Ogbor-Hill, Abayi, Ndiegoro, Uratta, Ohabiam, Omuma Road, Osusu Road, Faulks Road, Umule and all those areas where things were not properly placed before people with the help of unscrupulous Local Government Town planners started erecting building, shops recklessly.
This one calls for serious caution because a whole lot of things and people will be affected, sir. We, however, urge you to employ the activities of experts in Town Planning and Environmental Studies with the help of the Abia Ministry and some Civil Society Environmental Groups (FENRAD) already in the system to find a lasting solution to those areas because no plan was put in place at all before those areas were made human habitats.
You need to visit some of these places in person to understand the expansion of Aba into these places over the years especially the adjoining Streets along the Ohanku Road, Obohia Road, Port Harcourt Road, Omuma Road, Osusu Road, Ngwa Road, Uratta Road, Umule Road, Okigwe Road, Faulks Road, Old Express, MCC Road, Emelogu Road, Opobo Road, Amaukwu Road, Powerline and Adindu Road were just a process of creating urban slums and not a city.
These places have no planned drainage system, no defined line for the end of every building, no proper place for positions of sewage soakaway and mostly no perfect double space for an ordinary gutter to move Storm Water from one end to the other. The areas need serious rebuilding and it will take a serious and gradual process to achieve it in all areas where it is possible because some of them look absolutely irredeemable.
This is one that you have to seriously look into because the expansion of Aba is seriously entering deep down Obingwa, Ugwunagbo, Ukwa East and Ukwa West Local Government Areas. And soon, one expects that Isiala-Ngwa South will experience it as well considering its proximity.
Many people in Aba are not aware that the city currently expanding to Ukwa West Local Government Area through the Uratta-Obingwu Road joining from the Aba-Port Harcourt Highway. It’s equally expanding through the Uratta-Ugwuati-Omumauzor Road and this is where proper planning is needed right now to avoid the errors in Ovom, Obuda, Aba-Ukwu, Asa-Okpuaja and major parts of Eziukwu (minus crown Land) villages around Over-Rail.
Aba is seriously and recklessly expanding from Iheorji, Owerri-Aba to Mkpumkpuevula and Umunkama axis of Ugwunagbo Local Government Area and will soon get to areas like Abayi-Nchokro if nothing serious is done to put proper planning now.
It is also good to note that immediately after roads like Obohia, Ohanku, and Opobo are properly fixed, Aba will overnight link up with Ukwa East crossing Ugwunagbo easily because the distance between Ohuru Town and Umuagbai in Aba South is not far but made to look far due to the deplorable Obohia road. This is the same thing in the distance between Ovom in Obingwa and Azumini in Ukwa East hence Opobo Road is properly fixed.
The deplorable states of the roads are the major reason why people are still restricting themselves within places like Umuojima, Umuode, Umuocheala, Umuaduru, Umuimo, Okpokoroala, Umuobo, Abayi-Ogbuliba and Abayi-Ariaria in Osisioma LGA. If nothing is done and fast, these places will soon become like adjoining streets in Omuma Road, Ohanku Road, Obohia Road, Uratta Road and Port Harcourt Road without proper planning.
We also call for the creation of four extra standard motorparks around Flyover area of Ugwunagbo (Aba Port Harcourt Highway), Ndiegoro axis, Ogbor-Hill and Ariaria Area to ease the pressure on the Aba Motorpark in the Crown Land.
FENRAD in its Environmental sustainability and Recovery Will continue to engage the Government with workable initiative and Will provided technical support where necessary to ensure the dream of Abia Recovery is achieved.
FENRAD a foremost Environmental Civil Rights Group as a major stakeholders in the new Abia Agenda Will continue to engage the incoming Government constructively to bring the desired change in Abia State.
FENRAD is an Environmental Rights Advocacy Development organization which mission is to promote and protect the interest of the vulnerable groups and the Environment through direct involvement of stakeholders to ensure Environmental sustainability and Human Rights.