By Nosa Akenzua,
Delta state government task force on environment on Wednesday made true its earlier threat of demolishing illegal structures said to be hideouts for suspected kidnappers and criminal elements in the state.
During the exercise, which was carried out with the approval of the state ministry of housing, dozens of such unauthorised caravans in the Old Secretariat in Asaba were demolished and evacuated.
Addressing journalists, the chairman of the Taskforce, Mr Sylvester Oromoni, said that “Sometime last year, a civil servant was stabbed to death inside the Old Secretariat and we discovered that there were lots of beer parlours here and, often, they turn the premises into night clubs. This is not good for an environment like this and see we drew attention of the state government to it. We got the approval to remove such illegal structures.
“Having drawn attention of the government, the ministry of housing came in and requested for some time to mark the approved structures so that those not approved had to leave. Since last year we have been on this exercise and by December we secured approval to demolish.
“However, I extended the grace for owners of affected structures to remove their belongings, and sometimes last month the commissioner insisted on knowing the cause for the delay. But we were given a list of 59 approved stores and outside them, and every structured marked unapproved is being brought down.”
Oromoni emphasised that it was made clear to the vendors that alcohol must not be sold within the premises, adding that, before the demolition, they (vendors) were invited for a meeting with the ministry of housing.
“They had up to two months because we secured approval in December 2020 and the essence of this demolition in part, is to rid the place of criminal elements and also forbid such things as alcohol from being sold or consumed in the workplace and the vendors have turned the place into night clubs