Be considerate while demolishing ‘illegal’ structures – Obi

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Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, has appealed to State Governments to be considerate while carrying out demolition of “illegal” structures.

In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Obi stated that some of the demolitions have rendered many victims, mostly ordinary people who erred innocently or were ill-informed or misguided.

He said deploying corrective measures on planning or zoning violations by governments should not be punitive or insensitive.

He tweeted: “Recently, there have been reports of widespread government demolition of so-called ‘illegal’ structures erected by some innocent Nigerian citizens in error.

“We face a paradox: with a 70 million housing deficit and vast unmet housing needs nationwide, some resort to self-help of building structures that serve as homes, businesses, SMEs offices and stores.

“Invariably, some of these structures were either not approved or were built with the tacit collusion or approval of the local authorities.

Read Also: Kano residents protest govt’s demolition

“While some of these ongoing demolitions may be excusable, they have nonetheless, left many victims, mostly ordinary people who erred innocently or were ill-informed or misguided.

“Necessary corrective measures to planning or zoning violations by governments, need not be punitive or unduly insensitive.

“There should always be room for compassion and humane correction in taking any remedial action.

“I respectfully appeal to various governmental authorities to marry the need to enforce compliance with extant regulatory regimes, with consideration for human feelings and necessary compassion.”

He said the country is in a time of “extreme difficulties for citizens because of stagnated income, spiraling inflation, huge unemployment, escalating socio-economic costs and high costs of living”.

He added that Nigerians should not be subjected to further hardship.

“Moreover, the various concerned governments should consider paying compensation to those who have lost properties and livelihood in these unfortunate demolitions to ameliorate their suffering.

“Such compensation should fall under the rubric of eminent domain that is applicable for properties and assets acquired or demolished in the public interest.

“It cannot ever be over-emphasized that the primary duty of any government is the responsibility to care for and protect her citizens.”

On June 2, a task force set up by Kano Governor Abba Yusuf commenced the demolition of structures believed to be illegally erected.

The Nation

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