By Emem Idio, Yenagoa
YENAGOA-SOME aggrieved residents of Yenagoa metropolis have berated the Bayelsa State Physical Planning and Development Agency, over the demolition of their properties to erect poles and high tension cables in front of residential buildings to power a transformer, when the matter is already before a state high court.
The affected residents residing at Bossy Water Street Off Tombia/Amassoma Road, in the Etegwe suburb of the state capital stated this when some members of the state branch of Civil Liberties Organization, CLO, visited the area on a fact finding visit.om Thursday.
The CLO delegation who visited the area on a fact finding mission said they had received a petition from residents of over alleged unlawful demolition of their property by the Physical Planning and Development Agency despite the fact that the matter was before a high court in the state.
Speaking to newsmen, the leader of the CLO delegation, Alagoa Morris, said as one of the civil society community in the country, the CLO are particularly concern with fostering peace and promoting the rule of law among the citizenry and governments.
He pointed out that the fact finding visit was to avail the delegation first hand dispassionate information on the issues in order to make its observations and findings to the state government and general public through its report.
He said, “From what the residents have told us, their houses were here before a new high tension is coming to fly over their roof and if PHEDC,the runners of this high tensions are really aware of the danger they are trying to put on the people whose houses they are trying to run cables over, they wouldn’t have done so. More so, this matter is already in a high court and that is our concern.
“If the court in its wisdom has seen the need for the houses to be demolish that is based on evidence before the court and there is nothing we cannot do but for those involved to appeal to any level. Our concern is that we need peace and law abiding citizenry whether you are a government agency or corporate body.”
Also speaking, a member of the CLO delegation, Mr. David West, described the action of the government agency as a desecration of the court and call on the agency to go and have a rethink and leave the matter for the court to decide.
“For us as a team (CLO) the matter cannot be in court and at the same time government agencies will come and take actions on a matter that is in court. We were told it is a court order and we do not know the court it is emanating from.
“As far as we are concerned, it is not proper, the government agencies could have waited for this matter to be dispense properly before in that competent court of jurisdiction before coming to embark on these things they did. Looking at the matter in court, desecration of the court is not only when you go there to physically assault the judge, actions like this desecrate the courts as far as we are concern,” West stated.
One of the affected residents and pensioner, Pastor Ebinyo Ogbowei, said his publishing office and water facilities he built with loans were also demolish and has left him with no source of income, while another affected resident, Mr. Seleko Power said four shops, an office and his gate were demolish.
The petition to the CLO signed by Pastor Ogbowei, Dr. Maxwell Aghouta, Mrs. Ranita Dokari, Mr. Power Seleogu, for the aggrieved residents, said: “The property situated at Nos. 10, 12, 13 and 18 Bossy Water I Street, Etegwe off Tombia/Amassoma Road were demolished. We also want to let you know that the matter that generated the damage/demolition is currently in court.
“As law abiding and peace loving citizens, we had petitioned the Deputy Governor, who, wading into the matter, specifically warned the Agency not to demolish any building on the street.
“We were, therefore, surprised when the officials, acting out a script written by those in court with us, came with a bulldozer and two Hilux vehicles full of armed policemen from the State security outfit, Doo Akpo, on July 27, to effect an earlier threat that our houses would come down if we refused to allow them erect poles and with high tension cables in front of our compounds to power their transformer.
“We, therefore appeal to the CLO organisation to wade into the matter and help us obtain justice.”