•State to expand revenue base through technology

Chidi Nnadi, Enugu; Raphael Ede, Enugu

Enugu State Government yesterday gave 72 hours to occupants of Mary Hostel on Ogbaru Street, Independence Layout, most of whom are students, to vacate the four-storey building, which Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA) had earlier raised the alarm over the safety of the occupants.

The building, which has no railings on the corridors from the second to the last floor, according to the state Commissioner for Capital Territory Development, Mr Chidi Aroh, has exposed the occupants to great danger.

Aroh had, yesterday morning, moved to the building with his men with a bulldozer to demolish it, when the students cried and pleaded for more time.

Addressing newsmen in front of the building, the commissioner said Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi was committed to carrying out urban renewal and standard practices in terms of development control in the state.

“This process you have seen has led the governor of the state to virtually be on the road everyday to ensure strict compliance to international best standards and practices in city management and development control.

“This particular case is one where a four-storey building  was constructed (before the coming of this administration), and we have on several occasions marked this building and asked people to stop accessing it, until basic protection processes are put in place. But, the owners of the building have refused to heed to government’s call, which we have made for over one year now.

“In fact, in the last one week, we came here to seal up this property, but, you can see they have painted everywhere on the wall where we had earlier put our seal.

“You can see a four-storey building without any form of protection for those living in it.

Aroh said:  “We were determined to bring down this building this morning, but for the cries of these students, who are not able to remove their things now.

“We have given a further period of 72 hours for the students to evacuate and once they leave, we will return to this place to ensure the proper thing is done.

“What we will never accept here is to sacrifice one life in Enugu at the altar of carelessness and failure on our part to act at the right time.”

Meanwhile, the state government said to achieve her N2 billion targeted monthly revenue  to fund the 2018 budget, it will upgrade Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to expand her revenue-base.

Commissioner for Finance, Mrs. Echaria Offor, who disclosed this yesterday during the breakdown of the 2018 budget at a press conference held at the state secretariat, said with the expansion of revenue base, through the upgrading of ICT, all revenue generating ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) would be brought into one platform.

Mrs Offor said the essence of upgrading ICT infrastructure is to ensure adequate resource allocations for the completion of ongoing projects initiated both in 2017 and 2018, whose procurements are expected to be initiated during the 2018 fiscal year.

She said the over N103.5 billion budget estimate is to “strengthen institutions and systems for delivery of quality services to our citizens.”