By Amos Aar
THE BENUE State Government on Wednesday demolished structures tagged as illegal at different locations in Makurdi, Benue State capital.
The structures demolished by the Benue State Urban Development Board include, 10 Access road, two (2) containers on Katsina-Ala handset village, two (2) on Otukpo road as well as 14 shanties on Radio Benue way.
An eyewitness told National Record on phone that some youths and owners of containers at the Katsina-Ala handset village strongly resisted the demolition exercise as they blocked the street and burnt tyres, preventing the police and staff of the agency from carrying out the demolition. But soldiers were swiftly deployed to the area to enable them carry out the exercise.
Although the General Manager of the board, Mr Ternongo Mede, said they held several meetings with the leaders before embarking on the demolition, Patrick Akor who is the Leader, Handset Communication Repairers denied any prior notice by the agency.
The GM explained that the demolition was part of deliberate plans by government to give Makurdi, the State capital a befitting status. He added that it was also to ensure public safety as he said most of the structures were situated around electricity transformer thereby constituting risk to public life.
Mede who insisted that Katsina-Ala street and other affected areas are not commercial but residential areas said, those displaced should move to business areas like Wurukum, international market and modern market.
“You don’t mix commercial activities with residential activities, he maintained.
Some victims of the demolition had in a video released by AIT appealed to the state government to relocate them to another site. Some of them especially youths threatened to resort to criminality for survival if they were not shown alternative way since their only means of livelihood was destroyed.
“Mr Governor, what have we done? We voted for you, give us a place to go. If you pursue this crowd, there will be criminal guys in Benue State”, one of them stated in the video.