ANAMBRA, Nigeria – Former minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka has decried the standard of living in Onitsha, proposing that the creation of an Area Planning Commission will help make the city a modern one comparable to Kigali, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Chidoka who spoke through his media assistant, Ikechukwu Okafor in a press statement said the city which houses the biggest market in Africa had no coordinated sewage disposal system, water supply, transport system and other basic infrastructure that define modern cities.
The former aviation minister said, “Onitsha has lost its traditional setting, yet has no modern infrastructure taking its place. This is the reason for decay of public services.
“I want to propose the creation of Greater Niger Area Commission to comprise Ogbaru, Idemili North, Oyi and the Onitsha area to take care of the common challenges of the area like sewage, waste management, transport, water supply and other services.
“We need the restoration of Onitsha waterworks built by the Colonial government in the 1940s, set new targets on sanitation and save the area from emerging slum in area
“Onitsha has no municipal water supply system to homes which is a characteristic of modern societies and the worst of them all is sanitation where there are no treatment plants for liquid and solid waste.
“We have to invest massively to evolve accessible, affordable health and education system partly with the revenue generated from here,” he said.
He lamented that even though Onitsha has crept from Onitsha North and South local government areas into three other local government areas, there have not been commensurate growth in infrastructure.
Chidoka said failure to begin to think of how to develop the city would make fire and other disasters like have been recently witnessed inevitable.
“For Onitsha to be a successful city, we need to set clear goals, we need to engage stakeholders; we need our best hands employed and trained, we need to empower them with required sets of skills for efficient service delivery.
“In Onitsha municipal, we need organised transport systems, with proper route mappings to replace the current system with disrupting the private sector-led model that is available now.
“The new Greater Niger Area must plan to turn around the current situation where a vibrant city like Onitsha has no sewage system, no power system, no clear zoning of residential and commercial areas, making the city one huge market with low livability.”