By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent Follow @NaijaJonathan
Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade has constituted an eight man development control task force led by Engineer Oxford Jonah Egbe to checkmate issues of illegal structures erected across the state.
Mr. Ayade said that the taskforce will aid the government to ensure that the Greater Calabar City project is on track as they were incursions into major routes in the capital city of Calabar and charged them to ensure that they live above board.
The other members of the task force are Ogbada Owai Obia, Joseph Utiang Ikpali, John Jude Agim, Asuquo Ekanem Edet and Ufot Ekaite Ikpali while Francis Asuquo will serve as the Secretary with Mr. John Fidelis Inaku as the legal adviser.
Defending the constitution of the task force, Mr. Ayade posited that the Calabar master plan has been tainted with irregular buildings in areas they were not meant to be located.
He averred that: “We know that based on the master plan, Calabar is supposed to be a highbrow, world class residential city center where there are a given number of persons per hectare to reduce demographic pressure on social amenities.”
He continued: “But, because overtime, people have built houses even on flooded plains, built houses without respecting the boundary lines of the highway, the routes and the necessary clearance as given by the national federal highway codes.
“There are situations where people are building houses without approved plans; there are situation where people are building commercial houses in residential areas. We have all sorts of distortions to the Calabar master plan and Government knows that it is not enough to allow it to the department of development control under the ministry of lands.”
On integrity, Ayade said that: “And so, because an urgency is required at this point, men of integrity, honor and quality are being put together to address this trend. That is why you have come inside this place because we have studied you from a distance and we have seen the value you will bring.
“It is an office that comes with a lot of pains, a lot of inducement and a lot of bribery and corruption and a lot of public hue and cry. You have a duty and responsibility to reverse the degeneration that is occurring which may include among others, to be able to take down any building that is on flooded plains for the interest of the person to be able to re-align the streets and ensure that people pay development control levy, pay approval plan levy and also get proper approval appropriately; follow the zonation map of the state and ensure that we return Calabar to that beautiful green city we know.”
Also, the Governor pledged to support the task force with the necessary logistics and demanded that the task force have a human face, interface with the Ministry of Lands as well as other relevant government agencies. He insisted that any act of demolition must have his clearance.