–      As Landlords, Area Chairman, Protest Deplorable State Of Schools, Roads, Health Center

There has been bottled up emotions among leaders, landlords and residents of World Bank Housing Estate, Owerri over the continued absence of government presence in the area, despite their enormous contributions to the socio-economic development of the state.

The Area Chairman, Chief Ebere Iroapali and members of the Executive Committee of Area ‘L’ at a meeting they held recently opened the Pandora box of lamentations when they drew the attention of the Governor of Imo State, His Excellency, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma, to the continued discrimination, neglect and abandonment by both the state and the claimant Local Government Areas of Owerri Municipal Council and Owerri West, who they accused of only remembering World Bank Housing Estate, when an open space or road verge is available for the construction and sale of lock-up shops. The issues they lamented over include, the non-recognition of the President General and the Central Executive Committee of World Bank Housing Estate to the extent that all the palliatives and NEMA Relief Materials don’t reach residents of the estate because both Owerri Municipal Council and Owerri West LGA authorities don’t recognize them, yet flood, erosion menace, air, water and environmental pollution are taking tolls on the lives of the residents of World Bank Estate on daily basis.

In a bid to sustain their complaint and draw the attention of Governor Hope Uzodimma to the plight and discrimination against residents of World Bank Housing Estate, the Area Chairman, Chief Ebere Iroapali and his executives at a meeting on Monday, March 25 2024, observed that lack of government presence has left the Housing Estate so porous that rather than being a residential area, churches and private schools of all shapes, sizes and names have taken over all the streets and major roads, including private homes, some on top of drainages and along the green verge.

More worrisome to them is the conversion of many homes to guest houses, hotels and hospitality industries in contrast to the initial design and conception of World Bank Housing Estate as a reserved residential estate for civil servants, most of who are now aged and retired. “All drainages have been blocked with sand and debris including spent satchets of water, plastic and glass containers while stalls or lock-up shops are daily springing up on top of such drainages, thus blocking the drains and passage of water and subsequently flooding the estate with water after every rain drop”, they cried out.

Continuing, Chief Iroapali and others regretted that the roads leading into and within the estate are in total dis-repair, deplorable and dilapidated, occasioning unmotorableconditions and called on the Governor to pay special attention to their living conditions even if they are now regarded as strangers in their own land.

Worst still, departmental shops, supermarkets and even drug store owners have barricaded most of the green verges to expand personal business empires making it difficult for land lords and tenants to drive in and out of their various abodes. According to them, the estate had a court complex at Area ‘N’ and motor parks opposite Ideal Suites hotel but those sites are now lock-up shops built and sold to traders by the combination of state government officials, those of the State Ministry of Commerce, Owerri Municipal Council, Umuguma youths and their traditional rulers.

It is against this backdrop that the leaders want the Governor to restore the original concept and design of the estate by closing down the alleged motor parks along the roads and expand the mini-market to the last ring road at Area ‘L’. This they said, is the only way sanity would be restored in World Bank Housing Estate Owerri to give the landlords and residents, most of who are enjoying their retirement and nursing their feeble states of health in the Estate, a lease of life from the present hustle/bustle that had negated the objective for which the international authorities of World Bank and their local collaborators conceived the idea of a housing estate for civil servants and their families.

“This is why we are asking for the creation of a separate autonomous community for the residents of World Bank Housing Estate with a recognized traditional ruler, who government can always listen to in addressing inherent problems and welfare of the people”. They equally cited the sorry state and conditions of the Urban Development Secondary School and Health Centers in the Estate which have not received any government attention for over thirty years. Students of the secondary school sit on bare floors during lessons. There are no laboratories or libraries in a school located in the state capital, whereas local community schools through their senators and members of the Federal House of Representatives attract such facilities with ease. “Why is the case of World Bank Housing Estate, different”? The leaders queried.