By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN- GOVERNOR Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, weekend, said he ordered the arrest and prosecution of Major Lawrence Loye, the embattled Chairman of the State Task Force on Environment because he (Loye) took the law into his hands and not because the incident involved a very important personality.
Explaining his action to members of the Nigerian Guild of Editors at their 7th National Conference in Benin City during a question and answer session, weekend, the governor said nobody was bigger than the government and that government would always take actions in the interest of the general public.
Oshiomhole said: “There is no man bigger than the government. We removed the wall fence of Chief Gabriel Igbinedion on Akpakpava Road because it offended the right of way and we wanted to expand the road. He complained to Chief Tom Ikimi, former Minister of External Affairs. Chief Ikimi came to advise me. But before he finished, his own house had been demolished because it also offends the right of way.
“The rules are clear and the law is blind. It does not know Action Congress of Nigerian, ACN, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, rich man or poor man.
“We went to Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and I asked the Commissioner to remove the wall to pave the way for the expansion of the Akpakpava Road. He was hesitant. I told him if you don’t remove the wall before ‘X’ hours, we will demolish the CBN wall.
We had to enforce the law and after that everybody knew we were serious. On their own, they removed their illegal structures on the road.
“Before the latest incident, Major Loye went to one market, drove away the market women in order to pave way for a car dealer to take over the market. The Commissioner for Local Government said he warned him against it.
“The market women came to Government House to protest because that is the beauty of democracy. I called the Commissioner for Local Government and he told me he had assured the market women that nobody was going to disturb them. Then he called Major Loye to advise him that those women had been trading there for 30 years and their activities did not disturb the road. But Major Loye demolished their stalls.
“On the demolished building that led to his arrest, we had told him repeatedly because you don’t know anything about town planning, I will have to see the building because you can’t just pull down somebody’s house. It was not a joke and I had to convince myself that the decision was taken in public interest.
“Now Major Loye went on his own to mark the building. The Commissio-ner for Land heard of it, called him and said that building did not offend the moat, yet he demolished it.”