By Simon Ebegbulem & Gabriel Enogholase

BENIN-GOVERNOR Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Monday, ordered the immediate arrest and prosecution of the Chairman of the state Task Force on Demolition of Illegal Properties, Major Lawrence Loye (rtd) for carrying out illegal and unauthorised demolition of buildings in Benin, the state capital.

He gave the order while inspecting an illegally demolished building on Siluko Road, Benin City.

Governor Oshiomhole said: “As you have seen, this building that has been destroyed does not in any way affect the moat. There is enough space between the property and the moat. The fact that you work for government does not give you licence to visit harm and destruction on innocent people.

“I am convinced that he acted in bad faith. He is a sadist and his purpose is to confuse the people about the genuineness of our intention.

“Major Loye on his own without authorisation from the Commissioner moved to this location and brought down this building. He is not a town planning officer. He is only to carry out demolitions after a competent officer identifies a property that offends the right of way. He had assumed the powers of the Ministry of Land and Environment. On his own, without being told, he goes about marking houses indiscriminately.

“I remain committed. If any property obstructs the right of way, it will be demolished, it does not matter who owns it.”

He added that if any property does not constitute any blockade, such property is entitled to government protection.

Oshiomhole added: “I am handing him over now to the police for prosecution for illegal destruction of property. He will be prosecuted according to the law. Although the governor can revoke property for public interest, I have not handed over that power to Major Loye and he cannot acquire those powers.

“If he seeks to use personal biases to do what he has done, then he must be subjected to the Rule of Law and we must bring him to justice.”

 

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