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No court order stopping govt from shanties’ demolition, says Amaechi

PORT HARCOURT— Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State has said that there was no court order or injunction barring him and the state government from going ahead with the planned demolition of shanties and slums in Port Harcourt waterfronts.

This was contained in a statement by the Senior Special Adviser to the governor on Media and Publicity, David Iyofor, described the purported order reports in some newspapers as erroneous and misleading. “It is erroneous for any anybody to say or claim that there is a court order or injunction stopping Governor Amaechi or the Rivers State government from executing its plans for the development of the Port Harcourt Waterfronts”, Iyofor said.

Some Okirika chiefs and indigenes had gone to a Federal High court in Port Harcourt seeking to restrain the Rivers State government from carrying on with its planned demolition of shanty  structures in Port Harcourt waterfronts.

Iyofor said, “as far as the government is concerned, the only court order that was given in the matter between some Okirika chiefs and indigenes versus the state governor and several others was the order giving the plaintiffs leave to apply for the enforcement of their fundamental rights. And this can be verified from the court.”

He explained that, “from the brief we got from our lawyers and the Attorney General of the state, no other court order has been issued and none was issued on August 14th when the Court last heard the matter.”

The statement however noted that the Rivers State Governor is aware of the pendency of the matter in the Federal High court. “And as a responsible, law-abiding government that believes in the rule of law and due process, the Rivers State Government would act in accordance with the laws of the land”, Iyofor said.

“Nevertheless, we should not forget that there is the question of whether the Federal High Court has jurisdiction to entertain the matter in the first place. However, we will leave that to the courts to decide.” He added.

Governor Amaechi spokesman further stated that, Governor Amaechi has been talking with stakeholders on this issue of demolition of the slums and shanties in Port Harcourt waterfronts to pave way for the development of these vital areas of the city and to rid it of criminal elements.

And he believes that the dialogue process should be explored extensively. He said, the Governor and other relevant government officials are always ready to meet with stakeholders in this regard.

“Moreover we should always bear in mind that the planned demolition exercise and subsequent redevelopment of the waterfronts is for the greater good of the people and residents of Port Harcourt and Rivers State in general. The best way out of any issues or differences emanating from this laudable government policy that has been hailed by diverse groups and persons, is dialogue”, Iyofor maintained.


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