The Bayelsa State Government has earmarked the stretch of land running from Igbogene to Onopa along the phase two of the New Yenagoa Gateway Road as a planning area within the state capital.
The deputy governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo disclosed this at an enlarged stakeholders’ meeting involving the ministry of lands, housing and urban development, the office of the surveyor-general, and the Bayelsa Physical Planning and Development Board, as well as traditional rulers drawn from Igbogene to Onopa.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi, stated that the lawmaker representing Yenagoa Constituency 1 in the state House of Assembly, Oforji Oboku, and the Obenibe of Epie, King Malla Sasime, also attended the meeting.
Addressing the meeting, Senator Ewhrudjakpo explained that government’s intention to designate both sides of the Gateway Road as a planning area was aimed at preventing the disorderly development of structures in the area.
He noted that Yenagoa the state capital supposed to be a cynosure of Bayelsa, but due to uncoordinated and haphazard construction of buildings everywhere, it was yet to achieve the aesthetic beauty of a capital city.
According to the deputy governor, both government and the various communities, including land developers are to blame for not implementing the original Yenagoa City Master plan over the years, which he noted, had resulted in the present chaotic structural status of the state capital.
Shedding more light on the proposed plan, Senator Ewhrudjakpo pointed out that government’s intention was not to acquire all the land in the designated area, but to map out roads and allocate areas for specific public utilities to ensure orderly and planned development.
To achieve this, he announced the setting up of an 11-man Technical Committee chaired by the Executive Secretary of the State Physical Planning and Development Board, Alabo Gideon Ekeuwei
The Committee comprises five representatives from the communities, and six officials from the ministry, the Physical Planning and Development Board, the Surveyor General’s office, and the office of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice.
Also speaking, the commissioner for lands, housing and urban development, Mr. Andrew Esau, allayed the fears of the communities, assuring that they had right and access to their lands, but that government’s interest was to regulate development in the area.