Monday, 8 May 2017

Okpoko community laments poor infrastructure, seeks Gov Obiano's intervention

By Peter Okolie
Image result for pictures of Okpoko community

Residents of Okpoko community, a densely populated locality of eight quarters in Ogbaru local government area near Onitsha, Anambra have decried the dearth of infrastructure in the area.
The residents expressed the view while addressing members of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) who embarked on a field trip in the area on Tuesday.
The President-General of the community, Mr Linus Ezenwamma, described the settlement as “urban slum,” saying access roads, poor waste management, potable water, among others, were still challenges facing the inhabitants.
Ezenwamma decried the slow pace of work at the Ogbuagu-Mgbuka-Amazu-Onitsha-Owerri road and urged the state government to direct contractors back to site on the road project inaugurated way back February 2015.
According to him, “government after government, and series of officials of World Bank have come to Okpoko but we have not seen the slum upgraded.”
“Work started few months ago to dredge the Sacamori channel but the work has since stopped.
“We were happy while the work lasted but now that the rains have set in, we urge the governor to direct the contractors to return to site before heavy flooding wreaks havoc on the community,” he said.
Ezenwamma, however, lauded Gov. Willie Obiano for ordering the removal of a 30-year-old refuse dump and replacing it with the construction of an ICT centre, Primary Health Centre and magistrates’ court.
“Besides these projects, the people are still suffering right inside the community,” the community leader, stated.
Also speaking, Mr Felix Onunkwo, the Chairman Okpoko Community Residents/Landlords Association, stressed the need for water, electricity supply, access roads and even food.
Onunkwo, who said he had lived in the area for 35 years, described the inhabitants as the poorest in infrastructure and lifestyle compared with what obtains in other parts of the state.
“We call on government and Town Planners to help us out so that we can have a sense of belonging; the people here are prone to serious health challenges because of the unplanned nature of the area,” he said.
The state chairman of NITP, Mr Joachim Ulasi, explained that the visit to Okpoko was to enable members of the institute study the informal settlement and suggest solutions, in terms of planning, to the government.

“Planners visited Okpoko to see for themselves the need of the people, hear from them and then put in our ingenuity to solve the challenges.
“What we saw in Okpoko is a mess, a blighted area that is not planned; no access roads, drainages or something to show the difference between one building and another,” Ulasi said.

The NITP’s visit to Okpoko was part of the activities to mark the 19th edition of the Mandatory Continuing Professional Development Programme (MCPDP) in Awka. (NAN)

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