NEWS

Delta Starts Demolition Of Illegal Structures On Government Land

This action followed the expiration of notices issued to illegal property owners to vacate the land.

By Nkiruka Aduba

On Monday, the Delta State Government began demolishing illegal structures constructed on lands owned by Dennis Osadebay University in Anwai-Asaba. The properties in the Musa Camp area were demolished by the State Taskforce on Recovery of Government Lands, led by Chairman Chief Frank Omare.

This action followed the expiration of notices issued to illegal property owners to vacate the land.

Chief Omare, speaking to journalists during the demolition, stated that the taskforce was mandated by the State Government to reclaim all government lands unlawfully occupied by individuals or corporate bodies throughout the state.

Omare said: “Clearly where we are now is the university land and it is meant for the Faculty of Agriculture of the Dennis Osadebay University, more than 1000 persons have encroached the land and built illegal structures amidst all manner of illegal approvals.

“We gave them notice to vacate the land since five months ago. We were patient enough to go round informing them so that tomorrow they will not say they were not given enough notice.

“So whatever you are seeing here is a determination of government of Delta State to bring about rule of law and to respect the laws of the land because we cannot allow land grabbers to begin to sell all kind of lands.

“This is just a starting point because ‘the falling away of the yellow leaves is a warning to the green ones’. At Federal College of Education Technical Asaba, those who have built there illegally, we are coming for them.

“At opposite Ughelli Township Stadium we are also coming for them, Warri, Sapele, Agbor and Patani are also involved so if you know you have built on government land please begin to pack out.”

He said nobody can blackmail government with non issuance of notice, adding that; “we gave them adequate information, we have had town hall meetings with them.

“We have been able to also get a few illegal approvals given out by government officials on government lands. It is satanic because you cannot get a building approval on a land belonging to government. This is about the law and we must protect the law”.

While cautioning land grabbers across the state to stay away from government lands, Chief Omare said; “the task is enormous and we have to be determined and stay away from all temptations, blackmail and intimidation. We have gotten a lot of threat text messages.

“But we are not worried because we are not doing it for our selfish benefit. Unfortunately some government officials are aiding and abating these land grabbers.

“Nobody is victimising anybody we are only doing the right thing. So when you want to buy any portion of land please ask questions.”

He said Ministry officials giving illegal approvals on government lands have been identified and would be dealt with accordingly.

“Why we have been slow is because times are hard, building materials are expensive and costly hence we have held several town hall meetings to talk to them”, he added.

Regarding complaints from students residing in the demolished properties, Chief Omare remarked that their purported landlords should have notified them.

He added that some unscrupulous landlords even collected a year’s rent from students just last week, despite being informed to vacate the area. He mentioned that the University authorities have made alternative accommodation arrangements for these students.

Speaking further, he said; “even if you are a Commissioner in the state, if you build on Government land we will not allow you because we are not selective.

“If you are selective, the poor people and the less privileged who are helpless what will happen to them? God will not allow that to happen not under the leadership of Governor Sheriff Oborevwori not under our watch because every responsible character in government must respect the rule of law.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academics and Research, Dennis Osadebay University, Professor Robert Oghenedoro Dode, who also spoke to newsmen, said; “this is the first time I am seeing this level of impunity where people encroach not just the University but Government lands and selling them to people to build massive structures.

“This is the University land meant for the Faculty of Agriculture and we thank the Government for doing the right thing.

“Some people claimed that the University sold the land to them and the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ben Oghojafor has challenged those making such claims to come up with such evidences or take him to court.

“Let it be on record that Dennis Osadebay University has never or ever contemplate and will never give out a portion of the university land to anybody either by sale or whatever.”

Also speaking, Deputy Vice Chancellor Administration, Professor Chukwuji Christopher, advised illegal occupiers to relocate “because ab initio there was no understanding between them and the university on the illegal structures built on the land.”

He warned vendors and buyers to stay away from Government land, adding that “nobody can be greater than the government. Nobody is to be spared, and nobody is being spared today”.

………….

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