Thursday, November 3, 2016 5:08 pm
The apex platform of the Ogoni people, Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, has condemned demolition of residential and commercial houses at Akpajo community in Eleme Local Government by Rivers State Ministry of Urban Development.
MOSOP said the demolitions under the guise of an indefensible excuse of encroachment on Shell’s pipeline right of way is unacceptable. MOSOP has thus demanded the immediate halt to the unlawful exercise and the withdrawal of those involved from the community.
Addressing a crowd of victims of the demolition at the MOSOP secretariat, Port Harcourt today, the President of MOSOP, Mr. Legborsi Saro Pyagbara said: “While I entreat you to remain peaceful and law abiding, I must not fail to express my disappointment at the approach of the Ministry of Urban Development, which without any prior, official notice to the people, stormed the community today with bulldozers under the shield of sophisticatedly armed security operatives including soldiers and mobile police men and commenced demolition of homes. The exercise no doubt, violates the right of the victims to shelter protected by our laws and other international instruments.”
“The criminal manner with which the entire thing has been handled especially the failure to allow a period of grace is unfair and suspect. It appears some criminals with great political clout may have influenced this controversial demolition. This is more so as the pipeline in question is owned and managed by the oil mogul, The Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited (SPDC). I therefore find it difficult to rationalize why the ministry would be the institution to demolish “structures” allegedly built on Shell’s pipeline right of way instead of the trans-national corporation.”
In a statement, Bari-ara Kpalap,Media Adviser to the President of MOSOP said:“In view of the current economic difficulties faced by citizens owing to the present recession, one would have expected that government would treat issues concerning government and citizens’ relationship with human face. It is thus unacceptable that whist there are pillars demarcating the pipeline and built up areas, and the people had lived there since the 1980s, state officials would invade and demolish community homes without any recourse to civilize civil methodology and respect for international human rights law, which guarantees the protection of the right of all citizens including squatters.”
Rivers state government had in the past said it would not allow buildings that are without government approved plans and obstructing drainages or rights of way stand as they constitute dangers to the dwellers.