The Delta State government has given residents of Asaba metropolis and environs who own houses, businesses, property along major roads, or are into illegal trading, or whose buildings do not depict what they are supposed to be, 21 days to put things in order. Handing down the ultimatum in Asaba Wednesday, Joan Onyemachi Mrakpor, Director General of Asaba Capital Territory Development Agency, warned that “anybody that decides to try the might of government will appear before a mobile court”.
The ultimatum was one of the resolutions that emerged from a stakeholders’ meeting held by the Agency in its drive to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the state capital. Reeling out the resolutions at the well-attended meeting which brought together business owners, private property owners, street traders, and others with stakes in the development of the state capital, Mrakpor, said the 21 days started to count same day and would elapse October 8, 2019.
According to the former member of the House of Representatives who represented Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency, after being found guilty by the mobile court, “if we decide to help you keep your environment clean, it would be at a fee. When you are too busy to attend to your house, or you leave your vacant plots to be overgrown with weeds may be because you have forgotten that it is there, you pay fine to government. The capital territory will now come with tractor and they will help you tidy up and you will pay the bill. After you have done that, then you will do what you are mandated to do”. By this order, all property owners along major roads are expected to repaint their houses especially if the original paints had already faded, while abandoned vacant plots are also expected to be cleared or they revert to government.
Addressing journalists at the end of the meeting, Mrakpir said she was surprised that everybody welcome the idea stressing that “they agreed with me that the governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has done very well but that the state of sanitation of the capital territory, in particular, is not what it’s supposed to be and everybody is willing to do something”. The agency also gave a red card to street traders, warning anyone engaged in it to start looking for alternatives.
Coming down hard on those selling fruits on fruit stands provided by the state government at two strategic locations at Summit and NTA Road junctions for not keeping their environments clean, the Director-General directed that they would not be open for business from Monday to Wednesday next week for the purpose of clearing the gutters and back of the structures. She said anyone who flouted the order would have her shop sealed up by officials of the agency who would also certify the environments clean before they are allowed to reopen.
Mrakpor stated that the essence of the meeting was to explain “what the state capital territory is now that we would not want it to continue to be, and also show them a model of what is expected of the state capital”. The former federal lawmaker said the agency printed and gave to each person a copy of the sanitation laws “for everyone to be able to say okay this is what is expected of me; this is what I’m supposed to do, this is the fine I would pay if I decide to do that which I’m not supposed to do.” Mrakpor described the meeting as informative as a lot of opinions and suggestions came from the participants.