The Bayelsa State Government, through its Physical Planning Board on Thursday commenced a demolition exercise tagged “Operation Recovery of All Government Lands”, to clear all illegally built structures and recover government lands across the state.
Speaking to newsmen during the demolition of an uncompleted filling station in Yenagoa, Governor Seriake Dickson said the filling station was built on a high-brow residential area, and vowed to treat those who sell the state government’s land as criminals and the buyers, as
In a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Francis Ottah-Agbo, Governor Dickson also assured all land owning families and communities yet to receive compensation that, the government would soon do so, but warned against reselling of such lands.
The governor explained that, it is the primary responsibility of the government to plan and monitor standards, lamenting that, Yenagoa, the state capital, had become a slum, because previous governments failed in their responsibility to monitor and plan the state, with people
building on drainages, sewage lines and green areas.
He cited an instance where he directed that, a part of his property on the AIT-Elebele Road at Opolo be demolished to allow for the dualisation of the road, as well as that of the Deputy Governor, to conform with the government standard, and called for the collaboration and support of all to change the narrative.
Governor Dickson said, a penalty would be placed on those with appropriate structures on government-owned lands and urged them to urgently visit the Ministries of Housing as well as Lands and Survey and others for title regularization.
He also inspected properties around Kpansia, Yenagoa, and gave immediate employment to a private school teacher, Mrs. Beatrice Emmanuel-Diawhere, who was using government’s land in the area as a school and directed the Commissioner for Education to immediately employ her and enroll all the pupils at the school into government schools.
In his words “the demolition of this filling station is to signpost the commencement of “Operation Recovery All Government Lands”, any land in this state from today acquired by government for which compensation has been paid to either the families, communities or private individuals who own the lands, and think government does not care or know, irrespective of who buys the land, government would no longer tolerate that”
“Once we can convince ourselves that the acquisition processes were complied with, most important of which is payment of money, either by this government or previous ones, then it is criminal and those who, buy such lands are trespassers. Any structure put on the land unlawfully, government would demolish it”
“We are warning every prospective investors that there is law and order now, there is decency in the state, you have a government that, understands its responsibility and has a clear road map, that is why we have set up several agencies that you can contact if you are interested in purchasing land in this state, the principal one is the Ministry of Lands and Survey”
“We have also set up a computerized titled certification system which is the norm. Also, government has set up Physical Planning and Development Board that processes application for building permit.
It is very important that we do this because it would help us to prevent the public from the dangers of collapse buildings. You can go to the Ministry of Lands and Survey to make enquiry about the status of land you want to buy, they would guide and conduct a search to; find the use of that area if it conforms with the plans of government for that area”
“Our people should bear with us if we want a decent, respectable state, we must pay the price for it and above all follow laid down rules. Government is embarking on this exercise because we want to modernize our state capital, we are opening new areas of development like the New Yenagoa that would be launched in April”