By Boluwaji Obahopo
LOKOJA—Kogi State government yesterday evicted all occupants of the estate of 272 housing units built in Lokoja for victims of the flood which ravaged parts of the state in 2012 and sealed off the premises.
The state deputy Governor, Mr. Yomi Awoniyi said government took the step to forestall all illegal occupants of the estate who were denying the original allottees the opportunity to occupy their houses.
Awoniyi, however, urged those who had genuine allotment, to re-present their allocation papers to the Ministry of Land and Housing in order to re-validated their position and collect the keys to occupy the estate built and given out on owner-occupier basis to 2012 flood victims.
He said: “This morning (yesterday) we heard that illegal people who have already occupied the housing estate were demonstrating over their eviction. We want to make it clear that our government is one who will do the rights thing at all time
“On September 12, 2015, government placed advertorial for flood victims to come and bid for the housing estate. The process was free but of the 1,740 unit of dwellings affected by the flood in 2012, only 241 signified interest in the flood estate.
“The government after validation of those who indicated interest, allocated 241 of the 272 housing unit to them. The remaining 31 housing units were assigned to disables and widows on humanitarian ground.
“But it was disheartening that some illegal occupants forcibly find their way into the estate and turned themselves into landlords and started collecting rent.
“At the beginning, government thought those who have passed through the screening and were allocated the rooms were the ones who were overzealous and find their way into the estate; but now that the truth had been discovered, government, after series of dialogue, warning and persuasion, has no option but to eject the illegal occupants and seal off the estate, pending when the correct allotees conclude the re -validation.”
He, however, warned the illegal occupants not to make the ‘mistake’ of returning to the estate, saying government would no longer be lenient violators but treat them as criminals.
“A government which does not do its duties rightfully is a ‘sagging’ government. Our government will continue to do the right thing.
“We only appeal to those who are successful and legal victims to see this as a temporary setback. We just want to clear the estate so that the true allottees will be the ones to benefit,’’ Awoniyi said.