From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
The Benue State Government has earmarked over 500 illegal structures built by people on water channels and under high tension across the state for demolition.
General Manager of the State Urban Development Board, UDB, Dr. Saint Gbilekaa Abrahams who disclosed this in an interview in his office in Makurdi, yesterday, said out of this number, 300 structure will demolished in capital city. Makurdi
Dr. Gbilekaa said already, 20 out of the number have been pulled down in parts of Makurdi metropolis, adding that 80 percent of the houses built in the town do not have the approval for the board.
“When I came on board, there were illegal structures that were listed for demolition and so we investigated to know how true it was and we went as far as serving fresh notices to developers who defaulted”.
“So the illegal structures I received from handover that were marked for demolition across the state were 500 but the ones we have so far demolished are twenty”.
“The exercise is a follow-up of the earlier notices and warnings we gave to developers especially those who have violated development laws”.
“The 500 structures are even small, even if they were 1,000, it’s a small thing we can pull them down in one day. The State is an eye sour with these structures”, Gbilekaa stated.
He said that the last demolition exercise carried out was in line with the earlier warning the board gave to defaulters.
Dr. Gbilekaa, identified the major causes of flooding in the state to inability of the people to heed to early warning messages and blockage of drainages and warned those doing so to check the menace of the disaster.
He said the board has sensitised people of the state on the dangers caused by flood and the need for them to desist from building on water channels to avoid been displaced by flooding.
Dr. Gbilekaa further identified noncompliance with the law, inadequate finances, inter-government conflict, political and Staff interference, lack of Earth moving equipment and litigation cases as some of the challenges confronting the board, but said he has employed over 300 casual staff, secured power to establish mobile courts to prosecute builders of illegal structures, and open more zonal offices in the three Senatorial districts of the state as some of his modest milestones.
“The board has also, in one year raised revenue generation to our we 20 million naira. We I tend to construct bus stops and parking lots in Makurdi 10, Ottukpo 3 and Gboko 2”,he intimated.