We Don’t Want to Die, Ngozika Estate Residents Tell Obiano

The protesting residents of Ngozika Housing Estate, Awka at the site of the MTN Mast.

. . . Protest Siting of MTN Mast in Area

By Jude Atupulazi

Residents of Ngozika Housing Estate in Awka, Anambra State, have called for the intervention of the Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, over the siting of a telecoms mast in the area by MTN, a development, they say, has put their lives in jeopardy, reports Jude Atupulazi.

The spokesman of the residents, Mr Ndubuisi Anaenugwu, said their protest came after they had taken the matter to Ngozika Housing Corporation for the mast to be removed.

Anaenugwu, who said they were told that MTN was given approval to site the mast there by another government organ, called for the immediate dismantling of the mast to safeguard the lives of the residents.

‘Those behind the mast should get it dismantled, if not today; the next day,’ Anaenugwu said, warning that if that was not done, they would be forced to explore other legal actions.

He said it was wrong to site the mast in a residential area in view of its health hazards and without certification by the appropriate authorities.

‘We have made representations to MTN but they told us they got approval from the Anambra Capital Territory Development Authority (ACTDA), even when the Anambra State Housing Corporation was against it,’ Anaenugwu stated, warning that they would be left with no option than to seek legal means to stop it.

Another resident of the area, Prof Mrs Chinyere Okunna, described the presence of the mast there as a serious health hazard to the residents which was capable of causing cancer. She called on the appropriate government agency to stop the MTN from carrying on with the building of the mast.

For Chidi Akim, another resident, the siting of the mast there was not only dangerous to their health, but was already making the residents to die in installment. He regretted that despite many attempts by the residents to have work stopped at the site, work had continued.

He recalled that the residents had demanded to be shown a copy of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) from the telecoms company to prove that it was not harmful but nothing was produced by the company to that effect.

‘The neighbourhood is being compromised. Our lives are in danger; even our roads have been devastated by the heavy trucks deployed to the site. We are dying in installment. Government should put a stop to this because we don’t want to take the law into our hands,’ Akim stated.

For Justice Grace Ifeakandu (rtd), the protest was necessitated by their fruitless efforts to have the project stopped. She said the protest was the first step by residents to stop the project and warned that if nothing was done, they would be left with no option than to go to court.

When Fides contacted, Venerable Amaechi Okwuosa, the Managing Director of ACTDA, to react to the development, he said he had convened a meeting of concerned people in his office to investigate the matter.