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Delta goes tough on illegal property fee collectors

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• Agency beats W’Bank expectation, employs 9,515 youths
The Delta government has ordered security agencies to enforce the ‘anti-deve’ law outlawing illegal begging and forceful entry into development sites across the state.

The Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, who gave the directive in Asaba, also advised residents of flood-prone areas to relocate, as “government is not providing camps for internally displaced persons due to the social distancing protocol.”

Reacting to complaints that some community leaders and youths were still harassing business owners and property developers amid existence of the legislation, he warned violators of the State Public and Private Properties Protection Law signed by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in 2018 to stop forthwith their nefarious activities or risk arrest and prosecution.

Aniagwu implored the people to report offenders to enforcement agents for action.

His words: “You will recall that two years ago, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa assented to a piece of legislation outlawing what we used to call ‘deve.’ We are making it very clear that the law is still in force because we are getting reports that some persons are still harassing some individuals. If anybody harasses you because you want to develop your plot or your property, you are at liberty to notify the law enforcement agencies to prosecute such persons.

“We had observed before coming up with the law that the ‘deve’ mentality impinged on development, as those who wanted to develop their plots or invest were disturbed by the practice. That’s why we outlawed it so that we can speed up the development of our state.”

Meanwhile, the state’s Employment and Expenditure for Results (SEEFOR) engaged 9,515 restive youths in seven years, surpassing the 8,734 benchmark of the World Bank. The scheme is partnered by the European Union.

Project Coordinator, Frank Apaokwu, during an update in Asaba yesterday, observed that the programme, introduced by the Federal Government, also empowered 14,954 others with technical, vocational and agricultural skills as against the 7,900 target also set by the global lender.

He clarified that every community had access, adding that the initiative was at a pilot stage in Bayelsa, Edo and Rivers states to check militancy.

Apaokwu stated: “The projects, which effectively commenced in July 2013, were initially scheduled to run for five years, but there was an extension for one year, 2019. And following the release of the European Union grant component, the World Bank approved another extension till September 2020.”


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