Crisis looms as Rivers govt moves to demolish Bayelsa property, evicts workers

by Amos Kalu

By Egufe Yafugborhi, Port Harcourt

An inter-state crisis looms, as Rivers State government has seized, and moves to demolish, Bayelsa State property located in the Old GRA, Port Harcourt, the state capital.

The development has left Bayelsa civil servants, who are occupying the 12-flat property located at 5 and 9 Akassa Street, Golf Course Extension Layout, Port Harcourt, stranded.

They are accusing the Rivers government of jumping the gun on whatever the intention was.

An April 19 eviction notice signed by Sir Alozie Nwala, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands and Survey of the Rivers government read: “That in contravention of the covenants and conditions contained in the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) issued to Bayelsa State Government in respect of Plots 34 & 35 (5 Akassa Street and Plot 37 (9 Akassa Street ) Golf Course Extension Layout, Port Harcourt, notice is hereby given by the Rivers State Government that occupants of the said property should vacate.

“Take notice that occupants of the mentioned properties are given 14 days from date of this notice to vacate buildings thereon.

“The said buildings not only constituting public nuisance, but also defacing Rivers Government’s Urban Renewal Infrastructural Development Policies as relates to the Golf Course Old GRA Layout.

“Take further notice that at expiration of this notice, Rivers State Government will take possession of the properties.”

Smith Noah, Head, Protocol for the Bayelsa State Government, one of the occupants jolted by the development, spoke to Vanguard.

“Some people came to paste a notice that we are causing nuisance and defacing the environment. So Rivers State Government is giving us 14 days to pack out.

“We are not staying here on our own. We are Bayelsa State government workers. We were thinking that if there is anything that the Rivers State Government wants to do with us, we have an office here and the Rivers State Government knows the office.

“Ordinarily they would have served the Bayelsa State government if there is any reason for us to vacate this place.

“Unfortunately, few days ago we heard information that they are coming to demolish this place. So we have informed our superior and they said we should wait that they have already served the Rivers State Government with a court order.

“Yesterday (Wednesday) I was assigned to do a job at the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. On my way my neighbour called that more than 50 vans came to vacate us.

“When I came back the officials said they were giving us till this morning (Thursday) to park out

“I have been here for five years now. But you can see we are removing our things instead of somebody to come and destroy our property.

“Bayelsa was created out of Rivers. So if Rivers has any good intention for Bayelsa, the right thing to do is settle with our Governor (Douye Diri) and not give us occupants this punishment,” he said.

Another occupant, Bridget Allison, said: “People that came here yesterday said Rivers Government is coming to demolish this place.

“Even to pack out from this place now we need money because we don’t have anywhere to go.

“I am a staff of Bayelsa State Government and have been living here for almost 11 years now. You know things are so difficult now. Let the Bayelsa State Government come to our aid.”

When Vanguard visited the property, some of the troubled occupants were seen moving their belongings out of the property in anticipation of the Rivers government team coming to carry out the threat contained in the eviction notice on its expirations.

cropped OHATV


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