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Evil Neighbours Do Within Neighbourhoods

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Government cannot do all our biddings. We need to help ourselves, by eschewing our wicked and selfish characters, which have most times left many communities and homes on the run.

I have been wondering from where Nigerians learnt the method of joining building fences to the other, thereby closing waterways within the neighbourhoods. And because, in the local government areas, those assigned to the duty of monitoring the erection of new structures only collect money and sign approval papers; they don't care to know the plan that would or would not affect the neighbourhood in the case of flood or fire outbreak, all they wanted was the money.

The landlord would now feel that since approval papers have been given to him by the deceitful authority, he has the right to erect his structure without minding whose ox is gored within the neighbourhood, in the case of flood. Even the land-seller sell sanitary lane, and call it “open eye”. No one would talk because pursuing justice in Nigeria is like traveling from Egypt to Israel on foot.

It was not like this in the 80s. Our landlords brought out some feet of their lands for the purpose of sanitary lane and other use: like escape from attack, water passage or something. Many places where the “face-me, I face you” building are erected, it is very rare you see waterlog. But the gluttonous modern-day landlords have sold caution to the winds and used fences indiscriminately and this is affecting the living of residents. Some people have packed out from their homes because of flood, an act which would not have been so if that “big man” didn't join his own fence on the other fence and posed, “After all, it is my land”.

The idea of everybody complaining about the need to build drainages is not the issue. The issue is that there should now be a law that would prohibit the idea of joining fences together or buildings together within the neighbourhood.

So, I am calling on the respective authorities to make this as an Act. We can't pose ignorance of this, but we are suffering it in our neighbourhoods. We are suffering our own wickedness. We are suffering our own foolish recalcitrance. We are suffering what a foot or feet given before we erect fence or building would have solved.

Please, if it would be possible, I would love government to ask all landlords whose fences joined to each others to demolish and give gap in-between structures. We would see how relieved we would be in our residences from flood and other menace like fire. Please government should hearken to this call as a matter of urgency. That is the development we are sorting for. Development is not all about erecting skyscrapers in unplanned environment. Thanks.

Odimegwu Onwumere, founder, Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA), Oyigbo, Rivers State. 08032552855