Aba Task Force on Environment and Allied Matters has put up great efforts to rid Aba of street trading and illegal structures built on sanitary lanes in a bid to restore the masterplan of the city. But investigations revealed that there are still some challenges slowing down the work of the Taskforce. UGOCHUKWU ALARIBE of 9ja News reports.
FOR a couple of months now, sanity appears to be returning to the streets of Aba, the commercial nerve centre of Abia State as the Task Force on Environment and Allied Matters set up by Governor Theodore Orji embarked on demolition of illegal structures along major roads in the city. Street traders and operators of illegal structures are gradually realizing the need to restore the town to its former glory.
It would be recalled that since the return of democracy in 1999, there were some efforts made by successive administrations in the state to restore Aba and Umuahia, which had been badly distorted by illegal structures, to their original Master Plans. It is pertinent to say that such efforts were hardly sustained, but in the present situation, it seems that the Abia State Government Taskforce on Environment and Allied Matters is fully determined to provide the missing link which accounted for the failure of past efforts. In the execution of its mandate, the Taskforce, headed by Capt. Awa Udonsi Agwu (rtd), adopted the strategy of civility in getting the people understand the reasons why the illegal structures and street trading must not be allowed to continue.
Gov. Orji had while inaugurating the Taskforce a Government House, Umuahia, said that it is saddled with the responsibility of bringing about decorum in Aba, a city he described as chaotic, saying that his administration is determined to face the challenges to change the face of the commercial city.
The governor lamented that though some residents are opposed to the policy, it is what any responsible government should do. In the recent past, succeeding administrations had paid little or no attention to the future position of the city and her people. Gov. Orji complained that it was only in Aba that residential buildings, motor parks, and open spaces are converted to shops. He regretted that despite sinking huge resources in the city rather than anywhere else, it has not changed from its old unattractive face to what a town in the status of Aba should be, where there will be designated places for traders. The governor further disclosed that the new order will provide alternative places of business for the traders, but implored them to obey government directive first.
Speaking on the situation, a town planner who spoke to Daily Champion on the condition of anonymity posited that despite spite of the resistance to the relocation, Orji will be evaluated over the following four years based on how successfully he is capable of transforming Aba, which is infamous for its disorderly and disorganized state, into a city that the residents would be happy to call home.
Aba, a town that analysts feel could tower in stature like Japan or Taiwan given its industrial prospects and the immense resources accessible to the state, has already been withering away. This is despite the fact that Aba has been wasting away. According to the chairman of the Taskforce, “The Taskforce was set up to rid Aba and other cities of the state of street trading and illegal structures which obstruct the free flow of traffic and distort the aesthetic beauty of the town. We were not set up to victimize the residents of Aba or any other place, which is why we have been very polite in the execution of our duties. No member of the Taskforce, not even the security agents are allowed to harass or molest anybody.