The commissioner for Capital City Development, Barrister Onyekachi Nwebonyi, on Tuesday, addressed newsmen on the sealing of illegal parks in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state capital, by the ministry.
This was following a public outcry that greeted the vandalization of commercial and private vehicles during the sealing of a park at Sparendo Plaza, Abakaliki.
Nwebonyi said his office being saddled with the responsibility of keeping the Capital City in order in terms of traffic control, building control, and environmental sanitation, discovered that some commercial vehicles abandoned the government designated parks for illegal parks within the capital city.
He said before sealing Sparendo Park, his office served abatement notice to the landlord of the plaza informing him that the approval given to him was to build a plaza not a park and that he promised to abate the users of the said illegal park.
“Upon the expiration of the notice, we sent a text message to the landlord reminding him of the agreement we had to collapse that park, but the landlord could not do anything. And as government we cannot fold our hands, we have to move into action, by sealing the premises before the arrival of the motorists for the day,” the commissioner stated.
He claimed that the motorists attacked his ministry and damaged some vehicles at the scene of the incident.
“They came and saw that the place has been sealed, of course they respected us and went away. Unfortunately, I didn’t know they were having a meeting at the back of the Plaza, surprisingly to us, they came in their numbers, stoning us with all kind of weapons. I was personally injured and some of my staff were also injured.
“It took the intervention of security agencies to repel them, if not I don’t know what would have happened”. The motorists attacked my ministry and damaged some vehicles, and I believe that our vehicles could be one of those that you saw on social media that was attacked. Of course they were stoning here and there, other peoples’ vehicles were also damaged including your colleague, his vehicle was smashed by those hoodlums.
“But I’m happy that many of the hoodlums were arrested at the spot while committing the crime, not in their houses”, he added.
Nwebonyi urged motorists to move to government designated parks to load, adding that it is an offence for motorists to load outside government designated parks, noting that his office must enforce the law.
He hinted that they will also embark on the demolition of illegal structures in the Abakaliki metropolis soon as a result of failure by some landlords to adhere strictly to the guideline of the Ministry of Capital City Development when building.
“We have building procedures, but many people because of the money they will give to government to get approval, may choose to boycott those procedures and start erecting structures without approval. And the law empower’s my ministry and the Capital City Board, to demolish such structures.