By Peter Okutu, Abakaliki
Ebonyi State Government, Thursday stated that it will begin the demolition of illegal structures along the waterways and other locations within the State capital.
The initiative, according to the State Government was not only to improve the aesthetic value of the State capital but also to reposition it as a model city for the southeast geopolitical zone.
The Commissioner for Capital City Development, Barr. Onyekachi Nwebonyi stated this in Abakaliki while addressing newsmen on the sealing of illegal parks by his Ministry.
The illegal park operating at Spera-in-deo. Plaza in Abakaliki has been sealed.
Nwebonyi said his office is saddled with the responsibility of keeping the capital city in order in terms of traffic control, building control, and environmental sanitation discovered that some commercial vehicles abandoned the government-designated parks for illegal parks within the capital city.
On the sealing of Spera-in-Deo Park, the Commissioner stated that his office had served an abatement notice to the landlord of the Plaza, informing him that the approval given to him to build a plaza does not accommodate the running of a Motor Park.
“Upon the expiration of the notice, we sent a text message to the landlord reminding him of the agreement we had to collapse that park, but the landlord could not do anything. And as government, we cannot fold our arms, we have to move into action, by sealing the premises before the arrival of the motorists for the day.’
According to him, motorists attacked his ministry staff and damaged some vehicles at the scene of the incident.
“They came and saw that the place has been sealed, of course, they respected us and went away. Unfortunately, I didn’t know they were having a meeting at the back of the Plaza, surprisingly to us, they came in their numbers, stoning us with all kinds of weapons. I was personally injured and some of my staff were also injured.
“It took the intervention of security agencies to repel them, if not I don’t know what would have happened. The motorists attacked my Ministry Staff and damaged some vehicles, and I believe that our vehicles could be one of those that you saw on social media that was attacked.
“Of course they were stoning here and there, other peoples’ vehicles were also damaged including your colleague, his vehicle was smashed by those hoodlums. But I’m happy that many of the hoodlums were arrested at the spot while committing the crime, not in their houses”, he added.
Nwebonyi urged motorists to move to government-designated parks to load, adding that it was an offence for motorists to load outside government-designated parks as his office would enforce the law.
He further stressed that his Ministry will also embark on the demolition of illegal structures in the Abakaliki metropolis within the week as a result of the failure on the part of some landlords to adhere strictly to the guidelines put in place by the Ministry of Capital City Development in the State.
“We have building procedures, but many people because of the money, they will give to government to get approval, may choose to boycott those procedures and start erecting structures without approval. And the law empowers my ministry and the Capital City Board, to demolish such structures.”