Chinecherem Doris ANYANEBECHI, PH
Scores of people who were ejected from their waterfront homes in Port Harcourt are still groaning, describing the action of the state government as the height of wickedness and insensitivity to the plight of the people.
Those affected were inhabitants of waterfronts in Abba, Elechi, Nnanka, Uruala,Illobuchi, Afikpo, Ojike, Akuzu, Egede and Soku waterfronts in the Diobu area of Port Harcourt.
The state government had notified the residents on its plans to demolish the shanties, citing sale of illegally refined petroleum products as reason.
Just a week after the announcement, the government stormed the area with two bulldozers and fully armed security operatives to implement the order.
One of the affected persons, Mr Napoleon Amoni, who is among the leaders of the Nanka Waterfront said “the thing is painful. We got notice that we should vacate this place. The next thing we saw was the bulldozers. We are stranded. If you check the streets you will see that people are stranded. There is no house to live in. We are sleeping on the streets.
Chairman of the forum of stranded waterfront dwellers, Gift Otonnah, in a statement in Port Harcourt during the week described the demolition and displacement of the residents as wicked and direct attack on non-indigenes in Diobu.
Otonnah said: “This speaks volume of the insensitivity of the perpetrators on the poor masses. The Diobu chiefs and elders want to state that Iloaubuchi waterfront, like Ikokwu spare parts area, is currently under demolition.
“Therefore, we want to alert Rivers people of a dangerous trend whereby the government in the state can wake up anytime and forcefully eject people from area perceived to be opposition stronghold.”