From: Nosa Akenzua, Asaba
Delta state Government said it will enforce strict implementation of the ‘anti-deve’ law which proscribed illegal and forceful entry into development sites across the state.
The State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, stated this on Monday at a press conference in Asaba, the state capital.
He warned violators of the State Public and Private Properties Protection Law signed into law by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in 2018.
The commissioner was reacting to concerns that despite the enactment of the law, some community leaders and youths were still flouting the law by harassing business owners and property developers in the state.
Aniagwu disclosed that Governor Okowa had received some alarming reports from both public and private developers on the development.
He called on the people to report such harassments to law enforcement agencies who are empowered by law to prosecute the offenders.
“You will recall that two years ago, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa assented to a piece of legislation outlawing what we used to call “deve”
“We are making it very clear that, that law is still in force because we are getting reports that some persons are still harassing some individuals and that if anybody harasses you because you want to develop your plot of land, or your property, you are at liberty to notify the law enforcement agencies to prosecute such persons.
“You don’t say because that law has been signed and take the law into your hands to fight anybody who wants to harass you. Take advantage of that law to invite the law enforcement agencies whose duty it is to prosecute such persons.
“We are also seizing this opportunity to warn those who think that they can harass big investors, being it local or foreign that we will not hesitate to take advantage of that law to prosecute anybody found wanting in this regard.
“This is because we have observed before coming up with that law, that the “deve” mentality impinges on development in a number of areas and that those who wanted to develop their plots of land or bring some other investments, were disturbed by this practice and that’s why we outlawed it so that we can speed up the process of development of our state.
“We are convinced that if the state develops as fast as we desire it to, that these individuals who think that deve is the only true way they can survive, will even get employment gainfully and have more legitimate job to do than attacking people and asking for deve levy.
“The state Government frowns at it and will take the advantage of the law to prosecute whoever is reported or arrested because we believe that such person is an enemy of the state. We do not want people who have suffered and laboured to bring such development to our state to be disturbed on account of that.” he said.
He said the state government in partnership with the police and other security agencies have scaled up security checks on major highways to check the incidences of kidnapping, cultism, and other violent crimes and appealed to the people to cooperate with them to protect lives and property.
The Commissioner also announced further easing of lockdown on worship centres in the state, saying they can now hold more than one service but with strict adherence to COVID-19 prevention protocols.