Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
Borno State Government yesterday said 1,300 houses on waterways and river banks in the state capital, Maiduguri, have been marked for demolition.
Parts of the state capital in the last two months since the commencement of the rainy season have been submerged by flood.
Speaking during at a press conference yesterday in Maiduguri, the Executive Secretary of the Borno State Geographic Information Service (BOGIS), Adam Bababe, said the situation has called for urgent attention, and illegal structures built on waterways just have to give way.
Bababe added that his agency, which was inaugurated about five months ago, has been able to generate about N200 million as ground rents since it came on board.
The BOGIS boss, who said about a billion naira revenue is being targeted before the end of the year by the agency, cleared the air on proposed demolition of certain churches which was given religious connotation in some quarters, noting that mosques built on waterways are equally marked for demolition.
He said: “There is nothing like witch-hunting or religious sentiment in the demolition exercise, as we had had fruitful discussions with the leadership of the state Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), and they showed understanding that the action is to save homes from being submerged by flood.
“Over 1,300 houses built on waterways have been marked for demolition. If we don’t remove the houses, many of them in the metropolis will be submerged by flood.”
He urged the people to stop building on areas not suitable for construction of houses, especially waterways and river banks, adding that people who acquired illegal structures and built on them should know that the consequence is demolition without compensation.
Bababe said BOGIS was able to save the N200 million through ground rents and blockage of leakages from the ministry of land and survey, where unscrupulous staff connived with outsiders to defraud the state government.
According to him, “The digitalisation of the land records and introduction of electronic payments for ground rents have curtailed the activities of land racketeering and corruption on land matters in the state.”