The menace of illegal motor parks and unauthorized loading of commuters in strategic locations such as Maria Assumpta Cathedral roundabout, Douglas road, Orlu and Mbaise roads has become alarmingly chaotic and intractable. Worrisome also is the impunity with which unscrupulous Landlords and illegal park operators convert almost every available space for this nefarious purpose. In addition to avoidable traffic issues, the practice contributes to worsening sanitation, serious security challenges as most undesirable elements still hibernate around them to perpetrate crimes of all sorts. Most worrisome is that the entire situation is completely at variance with the 2nd term developmental programme of Industrialization, Tourism and job creation of Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
The best practices in most developing climes is to establish Standard Motor Park Complexes at choice locations at the outskirts of bustling centers through either the solo efforts of governments or collaborative efforts of Public Private Partnership (PPP). For instance, such arrangements exist in our sister cities of Uyo, Calabar and Port Harcourt. Therefore, in the case of Owerri the government should hasten action on the proper construction of such Central Motor Park Complexes at Naze, Akabo/Orji, Akwakuma, Arugo and Avu Junctions in order to restrict inter-city commuter vehicles from coming into Owerri Municipal. From the Central Parks, authorized lighter commuter taxi cabs, tricycles (Keke) and buses should convey passengers to their various destinations. It is important that these complexes should incorporate Shopping Plazas. It is believed that these complexes and plazas will enhance reasonable Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) through the fees for stalls, parking and other ancillary business activities. Other possible benefits in addition to orderliness are attraction of pedestrian traders, reduction of street trading and creation of employment for our teeming youths, some of who engage in hawking and other unpopular activities. In addition, this innovation will encourage an unprecedented construction of residential buildings and infrastructural facilities which in itself is a catalyst to urbanization, thus resulting in the transformation of those rural areas and undoubtedly boosting their economies. Certainly, the process will tremendously decongest Owerri Municipal and free it from the present severe consequences of over population.
Instructively therefore, the current efforts of Imo ENTRACO must be supported vigorously by the collaborative efforts of Imo Orientation Agency so as to educate the public on the numerous ills of illegal park operations, while a Mobile Court should provide instant trial and punishment for offenders as the ENTRACO Law is useless if not effectively supported by necessary enforcement. Certainly, all these concentered efforts will solve the problems associated with illegal motor parks in Owerri and by extension the realization of the Tourism and Industrialization policies of His Excellency Owelle Rochas Okorocha. Imo Must Be Better!
Sir Frank Iworisha wrote from Owerri, Imo State.