Reps to intervene in improvement, physical restructuring of Enugu metropolis slum

The House of Representatives has pledged to intervene in the physical restructuring and improvement of infrastructure such as roads and electricity power in Ugbo-Oghe slum within Enugu metropolis.

Ugbo-Oghe slum settlement is located in the Abakpa axis of Enugu East Local Government ayrea of Enugu State.

The House made the pledge on Sunday when two of its members, Prof. Paul Nnamchi of Enugu East/Isi-Uzo Federal Constituency (LP) and Rep Sunday Umeha of Udi/Ezeagu Federal Constituency (LP) visited former occupants of 8 Akpugo Street, Ugbo-Oghe, where fire gutted a bungalow.

The bungalow was inhabited by over 50 residents with two persons sustaining serious fire-burn injuries.

The property went into flames on April 26, 2024, following what an eyewitness said was caused by a power surge that reportedly started from the ceiling of the house but had no rescue from the emergency agencies, largely due to the inaccessibility of the property in the slum.

One of the residents of the building, Mr Chika Odo, said that even though he was not around when the fire incident took place, his wife told him it was caused by the fluctuation of electric current in the afternoon of the fate day.

Odo said that his wife told him: "NEPA has been flashing light constantly all afternoon before they noticed that there was smoke coming out from the roof.”

Speaking during their visit, Rep Nnamchi described the inferno as carnage, but thanked God that no life was lost except properties, adding it would be difficult for the occupant to recover their losses due to their low economic status.

Addressing on how to improve on the slum structure of Ugbo-Oghe, Nnamchi said that, “the bane of our national planning is that we don’t take care of our population increase, we produce kids who will also have kids tomorrow and so we need to have a long term plan. 

"20 years ago we had fewer people living around here but today we have over 50 people living in this burnt apartment alone, so it’s about planning. But I also think that the Federal Fire Service has just recruited and would be able to step up its services.

“The town planning authority should also look at it but it also involves that the community should give them support because nobody likes his property to be demolished. We need to have clear access to this axis for security, safety and every other thing. 

"This place also needs solar power and we are planning to do a bit of that soon but in some areas here, if you put a pole it will prevent entrance of vehicles. So in due course we’ll think along with this community to plan because they are also our own people," he said.

According to him, where you will have issues is when you do not decide with the community and you go along, but when they are involved, they will be leading in the project. 

He said that the people would only agitate if they are not part of the plan because "change is difficult and will always be resisted."

"The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has visited here but on our own side we are trying to see what we can do. Some lost their certificates and we can’t provide that but we’ll do our best to ensure that the impact is not as deep as it would have been if nobody came to their rescue.

“We ask them to take heart and take it easy in order not to enter into another problem, whatever has happened has happened and life must also continue and we must also ensure that their lives continue.

"It’s about the well-being of the people and that’s why we were elected. Most of these people voted for us but now it’s not only about voting, it’s about good governance; it’s for everybody, for the community, whatever we can do to ensure that the community feels represented.

"We’re here to show them support and tell them that whatever affects them has affected us. We will also return to know how they are faring and how the community is also doing," he said.

Speaking, Rep Sunday Omeha, the House of Representatives member for Udi/Ezeagu Federal Constituency,  said that the Labour Party is the people’s party through which the people made their will for them to represent them at the green chamber. 

"Hence the inferno affected all the representatives of the people," he said.



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