Obaseki demolishes APC chieftain multi-million shopping complex
…Traders demand refund
A shopping complex belonging to a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Edo State, Chief Osamede Adun popularly known as Bob Izua has been demolished on the orders of Governor Godwin Obaseki.
The shopping complex which has 218 stores was built along mission road.
Officials of the Edo state government carried out the demolition exercise at about 11:00 p.m Wednesday night 11:00 p.m Wednesday night.
Several traders who had secured stores at the shopping complex were perplexed at the action of Governor Obaseki.
The traders said they paid as much as between N300,000 and N500,000 including N100,000 paid as ‘kola’ for government officials.
It was gathered that ‘stop work’ notice was placed on the building last week and the building sealed even when some traders were already planning to move in.
A trader who has paid for shop at the complex who gave his name as Eze said he paid N400,000 and N100,000 as kola for a shop.
He said the traders would meet with Chief Adun to refund their money to them.
Explaining why the shopping complex was demolished, Governor Obaseki who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. John Mayaki, the action was to show his commitment to enforcing all physical and town planning laws in the state.
Governor Obaseki stated that he want to restore integrity to the environment’s masterplan.
He said the demolished structure was at variance with what was approved adding that notices were served for the APC chieftain to stop work.
Obaseki said Chief Adun sought approval for 30 shops with adequate allowances for space and internal staircases but a structure with over 150 shops and external staircases without provision for parking was erected.
He stated that the structure constituted a breach of the property and to all known town planning laws and even to the plan, which was submitted for approval.
Nobody is above the law, neither is anyone’s interest bigger than the public’s interest. No parking space was provided for owners of the would-be shops at the property. The property is being constructed at the heart of the city and shoppers and shop owners will have to park by the roadside and that can cause congestion on the roads.
“In specific terms, Mayaki revealed: “the plan, for which the owner sought approval, provided for 30 shops with adequate allowances for space and internal staircases, but what Edo people later discovered was a structure with 150 shops and external staircases, just as there was no provision for parking.
“I am also glad to report to you that the government exists for the good and interest of the public and that is the interest the administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki is serving. The public is even happier that the government is creating the right of way for them,” he further explained.
On his part, Chief Adun said he bought the land from three families and got approval from the state government to commence the building.
Chief Adun said he sold part of the land to the state government for N135m while displaying documents of how he acquired the property.
His words: “The building was approved. Do you do demolition at night? My son who went there to remove some things but was arrested.
I am the leader of APC in this state. The land was not acquired illegally. I borrowed N750,000, 000 to build that house. I also sold my house in the US to build the house. The government should tell me how they want me to build it and not for them to take the land.
Some of the traders in a protest march said they want their money to be refunded.
The spokesman for the traders, Celestine Okoro said, “In December last year (2016), we made an advance payment for 2017. I have two stores there. Depending on the size of the store, some persons paid N200,000, some paid N150,000. The least amount is for those paying for attachments, which cost N70,000.
“All of us have paid for 2017. In January, we were informed by the landlord that he wants to demolish the building and replace it with a standard one. When the building got to the lintel level, he demanded another payment, which called ‘kola money,’ or consultation fee.
“The old tenants paid N100,000 while the new ones paid N120,000. We also paid an extra N175,000 or N400,000 for seven months, depending on the size.
“Surprisingly, the governor came last week and sealed the place. Since then, we have been hanging around to hear from him (governor). But we were kept in the dark. We did not know what our fate was until this morning (Thursday) when the building was demolished.”
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