By Jamila Musa
In order to mitigate the danger of flooding in Abuja, The federal capital territory administration recently emphasized its readiness to demolish all structures erected on waterways in Lokongoma, a city suburb of Abuja.It would be recalled that in 2007, the FCT administration issued demolition notices to such owners of those structures and the reasons for such expected actions by the government stated vividly.
It is appalling to see more erections of these illegal structures by the inhabitants of Lokongoma, that it becomes surprising to see governments not doing anything about it.
We are therefore happy to see the authorities recently reissuing quit notices to owners of properties on water channels.The order came as a result of structures impeding the free flow of water.
The government is dismayed that the lawless activities of this residents are constantly putting the lives of residents at constant risks and so the need for the government to make recourse to this long expected demolitions of such structures.
Any government, all over the world, would be seriously concerned that man-made causes, particularly impediments to free flow of storm water through the indiscriminate erections of buildings on drainage alignments/rights of way and water courses,which have caused floodings in the city in the pasts.
Therefore,it is now of paramount importance that owners of buildings impeding the free flow of storm water in Lokongoma and anywhere they exist in the city,are advised to voluntarily quit or the government applies the law by demolition of those buildings for the overriding public interests as no government would allow the interests of the few jeopardised the interest of the majority.
In view of the grievous consequences of compromising the drainage right of way and alignments,residents are advised to refrain from this illegal act and report perpetrators and cooperate with the FCT administration in its bid to realise our dream of realising a flood free,clean and liveable city.
For the avoidance of doubt, inhabitants of Lokogoma are reminded that the right of way for primary unline without concrete channels is 25cm and 15m for primary lined with concrete channel,while the right of way for secondary/connector channels is 7metres.The right of way for tertiary channels is 3metres from the fence of the house.
The administration should on his part advised to re-establish the right of way drainage infrastructure in Lokongoma to stem the tide of flooding.This advice became neccessary to enhance the ability of the drainage channels to effectively discharge storm water into rivers or water bodies and relieve Lokogomians of flooding.
Primary channels such as canals are those emptying directly into the river,lagoons and other water bodies,while secondary/connector channels connects water from channels in the frontage of the house tertiary channels to the primary channels.
We should therefore see the demolition of illegal structures on right of ways as not a punishment or political vendetta by the FCT administration against residents of Lokongoma but the administration working for the public good.
Everyone who comes into Abuja to do business and goes to Lokongoma today,will see that Lokongoma is a dismal advertisement of the administration efforts in recreating Abuja as a city that is forward looking,and the government knows this.It is therefore imperative for the government to be keen in pursuing the seemingly easiest solution to these embarrassments.
The idea that the government wants to push people away from their homes and business is therefore not true.Those spreading this ideas to the residents are the real enemies of the governments developments effort in keeping the city safe,clean and habitable.Lokongoma shares with Abuja the exceptional situational inventiveness that makes the entire city tick.
This embarrassing situation of Lokongoma is what spur the administration to resort its last option which is demolitions.The Abuja administration,to be candid is not known to approach city planning from an authoritarian position-as its desire for development did not transcends the people or everything.We should acknowledge that this administration has a humane posture and it also recognise that the led has rights,but if your priveledge undermines the public good,the government needs to act-this is the case.
This administration is not obsessed with demolition as it is focussed also on providing the infrastructure the citizens expect of their administrators.
The government is also advised to educate the people on safety measures they must take when building next to a water body.The National Assembly which serves as the legislative arm of the FCT administration,should enact an environmental management and conservative act to guide against people building on water ways.
Jamila Musa wrote in from Abuja.