Ekiti State Government has commenced the process of acquiring an expanse of swampy fetid shanty slum around the notorious Atikankan area of Ado Ekiti as part of efforts to give the Central Business District a facelift and address the challenges in the area.
The State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Oladapo Karounwi and Commissioner for Information, Taiwo Olatunbosun made this known during a stakeholders’ engagement and advocacy tour.
The duo described the current Atikankan area as unfit for human habitation.
Karounwi said the high-crime rate area is a source of concern for the State Government, adding that the new development would address the issues of safety of lives and property, congestion and environmental pollution in the area as well as improve the aesthetic value of the district and the state capital in general.
The Commissioner noted that previous administrations had acquired the said land verbally but did not follow up, adding that formal acquisition was not carried out.
He said the present administration has, however, held several stakeholders’ engagements, identified historic and cultural sites that are to be preserved, and met with the Ewi-in-Council and the owners’ of the properties in the area, adding that approval had been obtained in principle for the government to clean up the slum, upgrade the land so the area could be used to boost business activities of the people.
He added that Government officials would soon commence marking the affected structures for proper enumeration and valuation to ensure appropriate compensation to the owners before demolition.
He said “We will not move to the site without completing the payment of adequate compensation to the land owners. This government is a sensitive one, a government of the people that cares about the happiness and welfare of our people. We will ensure that their compensations are paid and everybody is happy before we begin demolition”.
“Environment and Social impact assessment would also be conducted in line with global best practices to guarantee achieving the desired result”.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Information, Taiwo Olatunbosun said that the proposed demolition of the slum and upgrade of the area would boost socio-economic activities, Internally Generated Revenue of the State, and environmental health in the area.
Olatunbosun, however, appealed to those concerned to cooperate with the state government as the project is being embarked upon by the state for the benefit of all and sundry.