Edo State government, PDP differ on illegal structures demolition
The state government through the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, said it would commence the demolition of illegal structures on moats, river banks, among others.
Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Erimona Oye Edorodion has unequivocally said that the exercise will take place following the expiration of notices, earlier served on illegal developers for contravening the state’s extant town planning laws.
According to Edorodion, illegal structures to be demolish include “roof eave-extensions, structures erected on the right of way of roads/Streets, Moats, River Banks, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) High Tension Lines, all attachments on wall fence, caravans, kiosks and wooden sheds which are scattered all over Benin City.
If the proposed demolition of illegal structures becomes a reality, the worst hit would be a foremost transporter/ businessman and chieftain of the PDP, Chief Osamede Adun.
The plans to remove part of his motor park allegedly encroaching on right of way of underground sewage/drainage system has thrown other residents into panic.
Among other residents to share in the pains of the demolition would be the Moslem worshippers and the Hausa/Moslem community, whose mosque is adjacent to the motor park pencilled down for partial demolition.
Adun, who claim he acquired the park years ago, described the ongoing reconstruction and maintenance of the drainage system as laudable.
But in the wake of announcement to enforce the provisions of the extant Town Planning Laws, the Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), accused the government of harassing, intimidating and victimizing its members who defected from the APC to the party under the guise of embarking on enforcement of the extant Town Planning Laws to carry out proposed demolition of property belonging to perceived political opponents.
State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Chris Nehikhare in a statement in Benin raised the alarm over the ill- treatment meted out to Adun, a foremost transporter, and businessman in the state.
In a swift reaction, Special Adviser on Media and Communication to governor Godwin Obaseki, Mr. Crusoe Osagie who dismissed the alleged acts of intimidation and victimization by the PDP, said nobody is above the law in Edo State.
He reiterated the supremacy of the rule of law and order in the state, noting that the allegation of victimisation on the grounds of defection was baseless.
“They failed to state whether the said member’s actions violated rules and regulations on physical planning and development in the state, for which they are being sanctioned,” he said.
“In the list put out by the PDP, they mentioned the demolition of one of the buildings belonging to Mr Adun, which took place in mid-2017. At the time, Mr Adun was a Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state. His building, which violated regulations, was pulled down regardless of his being a member of the party. So, when you violate regulations, you will be sanctioned, regardless of political affiliation,” he said.
The governor’s aide stressed that the state government would continue to uphold the rule of law in the state.
“For the umpteenth time, the rule of law and interest of the common man would always supersede the interest of a few, no matter their social, political or economic standing in society.”
He urged the PDP to join hands with the state government in developing the state and not regard issues of enforcement of regulations and sanctions as an issue of partisan politics.
Insisting that the APC led government in the state is taking a pound of flesh from the transporter and PDP chieftain, Edo PDP Spokesman while lamenting the ordeal of her member particularly noted that “His businesses have been singled out for all sort of government citation and brute implementation of unlawful orders.
The opposition party in the state highlighted some of the few incidents that Chief Adun has had to put up with in the last few months to include the alleged inhumane activities carried out by the state government to include:”demolishing of Chief Osamede Adun’s Shopping Mall on Mission Road, and forcefully turned it to a parking lot even when the matter is pending in a competent court with “The closed down Bob Izua Borrow Pit located at Ikuenobo/Iguomo Communities, Benin City, owned by Chief Adun.
“The closed down Bob Izua Abattoir near Oluku, Benin City and Bob Izua Abattoir at Ikpoba Slope. These matters are currently pending at the Federal High Court sitting in Benin City.
“ Government notice to compulsorily acquire Bob Izua Yard near his house around Oba Market Road where his buses are parked”.
Nehikhare added that the latest in the long line of victimization and which he believes is vindictiveness of the government as against its member, “ is the order to demolish part of his park in Ring Road.
‘It is clear and unfortunate that as 2020 approaches, Edo State Government (EDSG) has switched on its harass and intimidate buttons as
it believes it can cow Edo people into submission.
“We call on all Edolites and Nigerians to condemn these acts and prevail on the government to be tolerant of opposition and govern the state devoid of government intimidation, harassment, victimization and vindictiveness”.
The State Acting Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu while explaining why government would not allow any illegal structure obstruct infrastructure development in the State, during an inspection of infrastructure projects in the city centre directed the Ministry of Infrastructure to issue a seven-day eviction notice to the management of Bob- Izua Motors for the partial demolition of the park at Ring Road, Benin City, the Edo State capital.
The marching order for the partial demolition of the park, according to the acting governor would fast track work on the drainage, which will help in reducing the incidence of flooding in Ring Road.
The acting governor said, “The park sits over an underground drainage system in Ring Road, hindering work on a project, which is expected to channel flood water out off the road. Failure to continue work on theproject has resulted in flooding and traffic congestion on the axis, which is the commercial nerve centre of Benin city.”
When the Guardian visited the the Motor Park located in the kingsquare, business and other commercial activities were going on, as there are indication of ongoing construction works on the drainage visible within the area the park is situated with heavy duty equipment and construction workers on ground.
The distraught Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bob- Izua Motors (BIM), Chief Osamede Adun who when contacted on plans to either relocate the Motor park or comply with the state’s extant town planning laws declined comment on the issue.
However sources close to him said the matter over the motor park marked for demolition with inscription (9/4/19) is already before a competent court of law.
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