The Obi of Onitsha, Nnaemeka Achebe, has called for improved infrastructure in the Onitsha metropolis to accommodate the Onitsha River Port and growing economic activities in the city.
The traditional ruler made the call during the 2020 ofala festival in Anambra state.
He said such infrastructural boost will help the state and the south-east in managing activities brought about by the Second Niger bridge and Onitsha port.
Operations recently resumed at the port after it was inaugurated, while the federal government is targeting the completion of the second Niger bridge before 2023.
A statement issued by his palace on Monday reads: “Against the background of the ongoing construction of the Second River Niger Bridge, the commencement of operations at the Onitsha River Port, and the imminent completion of the Anambra International Cargo Airport, His Majesty, Nnaemeka Achebe, Obi of Onitsha, Agbogidi, has called for attention to also be paid to social and infrastructural development within the greater Onitsha metropolis such that these would be in tandem with the new projects.
“His Majesty was speaking during the 2020 Onicha Ofala which was held on October 11, 2020. He observed that ‘whist the Second River Niger Bridge, the ports operations, and the Anambra Airport, would lead to increased economic activity and prosperity in the metropolis, as well as in Anambra and the other South East States, they will also put pressure on an already dilapidated infrastructure in the metropolis’.”
Achebe called for the implementation of a “massive urban renewal plan” for Onitsha metropolis based on an updated UN Habitat 2009 structure plan for Onitsha and satellite towns.
“The plan will not only address the current lack of city planning, high level of environmental pollution, and the absence of a well-designed sewer and waterfront and channelization system, but will also help manage the outcome of the developments that would arise from the new projects,” he said.
“Such an ambitious plan would best be executed through the creation of a Greater Onitsha Development Authority, encompassing the city and its neighbouring towns”
The statement also noted that this year’s ofala festival was held “in a modest way to comply fully with the COVID-19 safety and hygiene protocols”.
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