The Edo State Government has said the demolition of illegal structures across the state is a continuous process, which will be sustained to protect residents from flooding, environmental hazards and other fatalities.
In a statement, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said the demolition of illegal structures are part of the government’s response to disorderliness and disregard for law and order by property developers and other persons, who had desecrated building codes distorted urban development plans and caused public nuisance.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Erimona Edorodion Oye, said the Ministry embarked on the exercise after the expiration of the notices earlier served on violators for ‘seriously contravening the State’s Extant Town Planning Laws.’
Continuing, Osagie said the exercise commenced in 2017 with the clearing of illegal structures at Ring Road to restore sanity to the city center and will continue for the next few weeks.
According to him, “The Edo State Government through the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development has repeatedly warned the public, especially property developers against violating building codes and other extant laws guiding property development in the state.
“The demolitions are targeted at structures obstructing roads, moats, riverbanks, and high-tension lines in Benin City and other towns across the state.
“The demolitions were carried out at Ring-Road in May, 2017, while government land appropriated by private individuals were reclaimed and the property on them demolished at the former Benin Technical College in 2018; illegal structures obstructing moats were removed at the Ugbor area and buildings under high tension cables were removed in 2019.”
He noted that another reason why buildings obstructing moats would not be spared is because of the environmental impact of such violations, noting, “We deal with perennial flooding in Edo State as a result of the blockage of flood paths and moats, which often serve as a conduit for floodwater.
“The Federal Government warned of floods and it is only a matter of time before it begins to rain. So, we would not spare any illegal structure obstructing roads and moats, for easy movement and prevention of flooding.”
On his part, Erimona said the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development is removing buildings with ‘roof extensions, structures erected on right-of-way of roads/streets, moats, river banks, TCN and BEDC High Tension Lines, government lands, public schools; all attachments on wall fences; and wrongly sited caravans, kiosk and wooden sheds all over Benin City and other major urban settlements in the state.”
He warned that if illegal developers fail to comply with the directives, the ministry would enforce the provisions of the Extant Town Planning Laws of the state against them and recover the cost of such action in a court of competent jurisdiction and thereafter prosecute them accordingly.