Temporary Structures Reappear In PH

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Temporary structures and shanty buildings have started springing up in all corners of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas of the state and thereby defacing the Garden City.
Our correspondent who went round the city of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor reports that temporary structures have started springing up at Abonnema Wharf area, D/Line area and Peter Odili Road.
Other areas the temporary structures are spring up fast include, Eagle Island, GRA , Elekahia, Eliozu and Diobu.
At Abonnema Wharf, the temporary structures are being built by food vendors and those who trade on hot drinks and other items.
Sources hinted that the structures at GRA and major streets of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government areas are defacing the city as well as causing more dirt to the state capital.
Traders, motorists and food vendors have also taken over the Isaac Boro Park. The structures in the area were demolished during the tenure of Hon. Chinyere Igwe as Commissioner of Urban Development and Physical Planning.
Sources informed that people have continued to migrate to the state as Port Harcourt, the state capital, remains an attractive centre for the migrants.
A landlord at Eagle Island, Lucky Weche said he is not surprised at the spring up of temporary structures within and outside Port Harcourt, stating that the status of the state as a one-city state coupled with the continued concentration of economic activities in Port Harcourt is responsible for large reconstruction of the structures.
Weche said the economic activities with the increasing population attracted the city into hosting up to 3,387,649 people, which figure represents close to 40 percent of the total population of the state capital.
According to him, ”Out of this figure, more than 1,500,000 people live in informal settlements referred to as the waterfronts. Most notable among these waterfronts are Abonnema Wharf, Njemanze, Bundu and Marine-Base’.
“The high population density in the waterfronts is due partly to the urban shelter deficit and partly to high cost of rentals in the inner-city, where houses are nothing else, but a luxury to the poor. That is to say, majority of the waterfront residents are rent-paying tenant’s who belong to the economically underprivileged class”, he said.
Weche revealed that most of the dwellers are both residential and business tenants and use their apartments partly for living and partly for life support activities and maintain an average family of five members each.
He, however, said the springing up of temporary structures is due to the absence of the task force on demolition and street trading, noting that under Hon Chinyere Igwe, there was the recruitment some youths as ‘Urban Guards. “These committees are charged with the responsibilities of controlling street trading and illegal structures.
“The Urban Guards also ensure that those who build permanent structures have permits and building plans followed as specified by law”, he noted.
Efforts to contact the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development and Physical Planning was not successful as at press time.