By Bode Olushegun
Borno State government on Wednesday said 1,300 houses standing on waterways and river banks in the state capital, Maiduguri had been marked for demolition.
Parts of the state capital in the last two months since the commencement of the rainy season have been submerged by flood.
Speaking during a press conference on Wednesday in Maiduguri, the Executive Secretary, Borno Geographic Information Service ( BOGIS ), Engr Adam Bababe, said the situation called pfor urgent attention.
He said that illegal structures built on waterways just had to give way.
Bababe added that his agency which was inaugurated about five months ago had been able to generate about N200 million as ground rents.
The BOGIS boss, who said about a billion Naira revenue was being targeted before the end of the year by the agency, cleared the air on the proposed demolition of certain churches.
He noted that the plan was given religious connotation in some quarters, but said that mosques built on waterways were equally marked for demolition.
He said: “There is nothing like witch hunting or religious sentiment in the demolition excercise, we had fruitful discussions with the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Borno and they showed understanding, that the action is to save homes from being submerged by flood.
“Over 1300 houses that are built on waterways have been marked for demolition. If we leave the houses that way without removal, many houses in the metropolis will be submerged by flood.”
He urged people to “stop building on areas that are not suitable for construction of houses especially waterways and river banks”, adding that people who acquired illegal structures and built on them should know that “the consequences is demolition without compensation.”
He said BOGIS was able to save the N200 million through ground rents and blockage of leakages from the ministry of land and survey, where unscrupulous staff memberd connived with outsiders to defraud the government.
He said: “The digitalisation of the land records and introduction of electronic payments for ground rents curtailed the activities of land racketeering and corruption on land matters in the state.”