BY NDUMBE BELL JOSEPH GASTON IN DOUALA
The Douala City Council has embarked on destroying more than 1,000 buildings and fences found not to be allocated within the regulations in force since February 17,2023.
These affected in various parts of Douala are gnashing their teeth and begging for mercy but top city administration officials say it is time over as far as there is the lack of building permits.
Some of the targeted areas, such as identified by the Urban Community of Douala outside the regulated areas include an R +I dwelling with a walkway in the Nkolmintag district in New-Bell, Douala 2 community where a fence of more than 100 meters was destroyed for lack of building permits. Also targeted is the northern extension of Boulevard de la Republique, the Fodem hardware store which also broke under the shovel from the CUD machine and Douala 3rd district where a fence built without authorisation was targeted by the campaign operation.
Reports say the tourism and leisure sector where 15 hotels had been earmarked to create a strong infrastructural base, have been found not to be in line with the regulations and the decision reversed for destruction. This will be done with the assistance of military engineering which is expected to provide dynamites.
On why the cross-section of the urban population say it was a surprise meant to punish them, the community executives of Douala clarified that it was not true.
Officials are said to have had an awareness campaign aimed at the population on the rules incurred by erecting construction without authorisation. The important action of education and sensibilisation were meant to create awareness at their doorsteps on the administrative acts of town planning. The campaign was made with the assistance of community heads, municipal councellors through open day seminars. One positive development is the application of online or digitalisation for issuing town planning documents.
Other reports say the exercise is leaving CUD with an indebtedness of FCFA 15 billion with some partners.
According to the Douala City Mayor Dr. Mbassa Ndine, “This descent comes after a long period of awareness and call for regularisation launched by the urban community of Douala, towards the public. At the end of this period we issued sommons, placed St. Andrew crosses, observed various remedies as well as cerifications. All these preliminary steps were respected by the urban community of Douala before the final phase of demolition”.