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The government of Ekiti State has initiated the acquisition process for a swampy and malodorous slum in the notorious Atikankan area of Ado Ekiti, the State capital as part of efforts at giving the Central Business District a facelift and tackle the persistent challenges plaguing the area.

Rt. Hon. Oladapo Karounwi, the State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development and his counterpart in charge of Information, Rt. Hon. Taiwo Olatunbosun disclosed this during a stakeholders’ engagement and advocacy tour.

According to them, the area is unsuitable for human habitation as it currently exists.

The State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development said that 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.

Karounwi noted that previous administrations had acquired the said land verbally but did not follow-up, adding that formal acquisition was not carried out.

The Commissioner said that the present administration had however held several stakeholders’ engagements, identified historic and cultural sites that are to be preserved, met with the Ewi-in-Council and the owners’ of the properties in the area, adding that approval had been obtained in principle for government to clean up the slum, upgrade the land so that the area could be used to boost business activities of the people.

He added that Government officials would soon commence marking of the affected structures for proper enumeration and valuation to ensure appropriate compensation to the owners before starting demolition.

Karounwi said “We will not move to 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, Rt. Hon. Taiwo Olatunbosun, the Commissioner for Information asserted that the proposed demolition of the slum, coupled with the subsequent enhancement of the area, is anticipated to stimulate socio-economic activities, enhance the Internally Generated Revenue of the State, and contribute to improved environmental health in the region.

The Commissioner however appealed to the concerned to cooperate with the state government as the project which is being embarked upon by the state government is for the benefit of all and sundry.

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