By Ikhili Ebalu, Benin City
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State on Tuesday condemned the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led PDP administration over its renewed penchant for demolishing private properties in the State capital, Benin City, on the excuse that the owners violated extant town planning legislations.
APC in a statement signed by its State Chairman Col. (Dr.) David Imuse (rtd), condemned the demolition of one property at 13 Aideyan Street, on the Ihama axis, and another housing over 60 stores, which was undergoing construction at 90, Akenzua Road, both in Benin City.
The APC said, “it is distressing that the Obaseki government is celebrating these demolitions like a rampaging occupation force. Col. Imuse said the Government did not follow due process, and there is no evidence that the owners were served notice of infringement or intention to demolish. He said further that such actions by Government is an illegality, and amounts to wilful and wanton destruction amidst excruciating unemployment rate, decayed infrastructure, a worsening governance system, and unprecedented poverty in our State.”
He said whereas these properties did not drop from the skies, and have been under construction with the knowledge of the Edo State Department of Physical and Urban Planning, the explanation that their owners failed to get relevant approvals as the basis for their demolition does not hold water.
He said, “They did not start the buildings overnight. Relevant authorities cannot say they were not in the know of their construction. Moreover, the owners meant well for the State by investing their hard earned resources running into millions of Naira, into the properties designed to create jobs for the youths of the State”.
He argued that in civilized climes a responsible government would have given the owners the option of paying fines and directives to redesign the said properties according to approved plans or gone to court to obtain relevant orders.
The party said, “whereas previous demolitions targeted members of the APC, recent demolitions are targeting the same investors the government claims it is searching for; an indication which has further shown that the PDP government in Edo state does not have the interest of the people at heart, but is only out to repress and plunge our state into untold hardship”.