Steve Oko, Umuahia
There has been public outcry in Umuahia following widesprea sealing of houses, including places of worship by the Abia State government.
Ministry of Physical, Urban Planning and Infrastructural Development last week, commenced the shut down of residential houses which had shops in their frontage. Over four houses, including a church were sealed along Uwalaka Street by Niger Road Umuahia. Several other houses had earlier been sealed around the area.
Tenants and residents woke up to discover that their houses had been sealed with a red tape. Some gates were also put under lock and key with chains. Shop owners in the affected areas are counting their losses as they cannot operate their businesses.
A shop owner, who gave his name as Okey, argued that government should devise a better way of sorting out matters with defaulting landlords than subjecting tenants to unnecessary embarrassments. Another tenant, Mrs. Marbel Uzor, lamented that she could not use her car to take the children to school and to for work.
An official of the Ministry whose number appeared on the seal gave his name as Kennedy Izuwa, a town planner, said the affected buildings were sealed for failure of landlords to pay N30,000 being the cost of data capturing of houses in Umuahia.
He said defaulters were made to pay N130,000, including N100,000 as penalty for default.