The Edo State government, through its Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development have (allegedly), on Wednesday, 6th May, issued a letter to Comrade Tony Adun Kabaka, demanding Eighteen Million Naira from him after demolishing his hotel.
On Wednesday, 5th February, 2020, the Edo State government, led by Godwin Obaseki, demolished a hotel belonging to Comrade Tony Adun Kabaka, saying its an illegal structure.
The Edo government decided to remove all illegal structures erected on government property, including public schools and waterways as well as roof eave-extensions and structures erected on the right of way of roads/streets, moats, river banks, TCN high tension lines, among others in Benin City and other major settlements in the state.
Speaking on why the hotel must be demolished, Governor Godwin Obaseki said that no amount of blackmail would stop him from demolishing the building because it was built on government property, adding that there was no political undertone in the decision since he had warned in the past that his administration would not tolerate lawlessness.
“If you have done the wrong thing and taken over properties that is not yours, to build on government property is the wrong thing to do. If you go and build on road, that is not the right thing to do. If government tolerates that then more people will become lawless.”
“If any law has been breached in Edo State, I have sworn to the constitution to preserve order. This is a government that is not afraid of anybody and will not be subject to blackmail. Anybody who contravenes the law no matter how highly placed you are in Edo State, you will be dealt with.”
“It has no political undertone. If you go to Etete now. I am doing the same thing. I am fencing the sports centre.”
“I have warned in the past that anybody who encroached on government land or school properties will be dealt with. Go to Bénin Technical College, that is evidence. As long as they continue to behave lawlessly, we will enforce the law.”
Reacting to the demolition, via phone call, Tony Kabaka said, “We are still in court. I have injunctions against the government. Judgment is on Friday. I have Certificate of Occupancy in my house but I don’t have C of O in the hotel.”
“Let him go ahead and demolish it. 100 years is not forever.”
But around the same time, Special Adviser to Governor Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said all injunctions have been vacated at the court.
The Edo State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, though this letter, signed by Mrs Pamela Osarenogwo, is asking Comrade Tony Adun Kabaka, to pay for the cost incurred while demolishing his hotel – Eighteen Million Naira.
With title “Request for the Payment of Cost of Demolition and Evacuation of Debris Arising from the Demolition of your illegal Hotel at Akin Oladiyun Street, off Ugbor Village Road, beside Ugbor Primary School, Ugbor Area, Benin City,” the government wants him to treat it “as urgent”.
Kabaka will pay for the “Debris Arising from the Demolition” of his hotel.
“Take note that should you fail to comply with the directive; the Ministry will have no option but to proceed to employ all legal means at its disposal to recover the cost in a court of Competent Jurisdiction by virtue of subsection 5 (c) of section 7 of Town and Planning Law, Cap165 as well as the appropriate provisions of the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning (Amendment Decree, 1999).
In reaction to the, a media group, ChrisOsaMedia, says Governor Obaseki is “hell bent” on “demoralising anyone” who stands against his ambition for second term and Kabaka happens to be a big fan.
“ChrisOsaMedia recalls that Godwin Obaseki who is desperately seeking a return ticket from the party, is hell bent to demoralise anyone who is perceived to be against his ambition to be Governor for another four years, Tony Kabaka happens to be one of those who have openely voice out that the Governor does not deserve a second term ticket from the party, although Comr Kabaka is believed to be expressing his right to freedom of speech that Nigerians should enjoy.”
“But in a very surprising manner, Godwin Obaseki, angered by Kabaka’s decision not to support his ambition, ordered for the illegal demolition of his hotel, the hotel was illegally demolished while the court were yet to give judgement on the said matter.”
The media house also hinted that Godwin Obaseki might run for second term using party order than APC.
“Meanwhile, the Governor may also have concluded plans to seek reelection from other platform such as PDP or AA, as it has been widely speculated, this could be one of the reason he is not looking back in tormenting party faithfuls in Edo state.”