The Edo State Government has commenced the removal of illegal buildings and structures that violate the state’s extant town planning laws, as part of a renewed bid to keep faith with its urban renewal plans and prevent man-made disasters such as flooding.
The structures affected are those along waterways, moats, right of way of roads/streets, river banks and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) high tension lines, among others.
Speaking to journalists during the exercise in Ugbor Village, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Erimona Oye Edorodion, said the state government embarked on the exercise after several notices put out to warn erring members of the public to remove the structures, which seriously contravened extant state town planning laws.
According to him, the illegal structures being removed include “roof extensions, structures erected on the right of way of roads, moats, river banks, Transmission Company of Nigeria’s high tension lines, all attachments on fence, caravans, kiosks and wooden sheds which are scattered all over Benin City.”
He noted that the exercise became necessary following the threats of climate change as the illegal structures built on waterways, right of way of roads/streets, river banks result in flooding.
Edorodion said the action will discourage other people from erecting illegal structure and stressed that people ought to obtain permits before erecting buildings.
He bemoaned the practice of erecting structures on moats which are historical landmarks and heritage sites in Benin, noting that the trend was discouraging.
“It is unfortunate that developers build on moats which are supposed to be preserved. The moats are not what should be destroyed,” he said.
He maintained that the exercise will send a clear message to people who disregard the state town planning laws by erecting structures on moats, adding that before the exercise was carried out notices were served.
An elder in Ugbor community, Mr. Oviawe David, commended the state government for the action, which he said will rescue the community from the activities of illegal developers who erect structures on moats and waterways.
The Ohen Igie of Ugbor, Chief Unity Igiorobo, also hailed the action, adding that the exercise will bring succour to community residents.
Recall that the state government in an earlier notice advised illegal developers to remove the structures by themselves and reinstate the land to its original status prior to their illegal development.
The commissioner had warned that if they failed to comply with the directives, the ministry shall enforce the provisions of the extant town planning laws of the state against them and recover the cost of such an action from them in a law court of competent jurisdiction and prosecute them accordingly.”