By Chukwuebuka Nkachukwu
Residents of Amakohia and Akwakuma on Orlu Road, Owerri, Imo State, are counting their loses as the state’s demolition squad moved in to widen the road as part of the reconstruction work going on around the New Road flyover at Amakohia/Akwakuma junction.
When Christian Voice reporter visited the scene, recently, a widow who identified herself as Ezinne cried profusely, saying that when her husband died 10 years ago, the husband’s relatives left her with only the shop where she sells foodstuffs.
She said that she came to her shop on that fateful Tuesday and saw that her shop, along with other shops in the line, had been pulled down.
“God , why me? What have I done to deserve this?” she lamented on her knees, weeping. She added that she had nothing left as her only hope of survival had been demolished.
Another victim, Mr. Uche Amadi, said that he got a call from his friend last week informing him that his shop had been pulled down.
“I did not believe my friend’s story until I went to my shop and saw the rubbles”, he said.
“I am a tailor and I have been in the business for the past four years. This business has helped me in life, providing me with income, putting food on the table”. He prayed that God would make a way for those affected.
Also, Chika Eze, a hairstylist, Christopher, a barber and Emeka who sells clothes and shoes shared the same grievances, fearing the rise in crime and unemployment as the aftermath.
They said that there were bigger problems needing government attention than widening the roads.
Speaking to Christian Voice, one of the residents, who was not affected advised the government to pay compensation on the demolished buildings because the builders had kept the statutory distance prevalent at the time the road was initially constructed.
“This new expansion is an after-thought of government and morality demands that they should pay compensation for any damage they made in the process”, he said.
The resident, who did not volunteer his name, sited the East-West Road that links Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to Warri in Delta, saying that when the Federal Government decided to widen the road, they paid full compensation to people whose buildings were affected.
Efforts to reach the state commissioner for works failed.