By Effiong Usoro and Emmanuel Ntekim
The management of Uyo Capital City Development Authority, UCCDA, has blamed the Akwa Ibom state government for the delay in demolition of more than 5,000 illegal structures in Uyo.
The Director Town planning in the Authority, Elder Effiong Akpan stated this in his office while reacting to allegation of extortion by UCCDA officials to stop demolition of illegal structures after they had been marked by the authority for demolition.
Elder Akpan told The Evangelist reporters that the state government has not provided the needed funds to the authority to carry out its activities since 2016.
He pointed out that there were more than 5,000 illegal structures scattered in different parts of Uyo capital city but the UCCDA did not have the funds to hire machines, security as well as mobilize personnel for demolition exercise.
According to him, UCCDA needs about Three Million Naira (N3m) to embark on each demolition exercise. Elder Akpan explained that if any individual wants a particular illegal structure to be demolished them, the person should provide the money for hiring of machines, security and mobilization of officials.
Akpan further stated that the Authority had applied to the state government several times for funds but no money has been released since 2016.
He mentioned the collapsed Reigners Church in Uyo as one of the structures UCCDA needed to demolished but could not because it did not have the funds to embark on the exercise.
He vowed that UCCDA would pull down all illegal structures along Uyo village road whenever the state government provides funds for the exercise. On why construction work continues in some structures after they had been marked by UCCDA, Elder Akpan said that owners of such structures usually come to present their building plans and regularize their documents.
He explained that not all building marked by UCCDA are meant for demolition pointing out that each marking carries specific information which the owner of the property is expected to furnish the authority.
He insisted that if any building is marked but construction continues, it is either the owner of the property has provided the necessary building plan and other documents to UCCDA or the owner of the property is building at his own risk.