The brewing tension between Rivers and Bayelsa States heightened today as the Rivers State Government commenced the demolition of two buildings belonging to the Bayelsa State Government in Akassa Street, old GRA Port Harcourt.
The buildings occupying an expanse of land at numbers 5 and 9 Akassa Street in the old GRA axis were being used as residential quarters for workers of Bayelsa State Government Liaison Office in Port Harcourt before the demolition, reports The Nation.
All the workers had moved out of the buildings following a 14-day quit notice issued them by the Rivers government.
It was gathered that at 10:20am, escalators and caterpillars began pulling down the buildings while armed security operatives monitored the scene.
Policemen were said to have prevented journalists from taking pictures and entering the building.
One of those evicted from the buildings and employee of the Bayelsa State Liaison office in Port Harcourt, Pastor Isaac Board said he hurriedly packed out of the building.
He said: “I have no place to stay as I speak to you. I and my family slept in the corridor of a friend’s place last night.
“We are workers with the Bayelsa State, so let the governmentnt come to our aide by giving us a place to stay.”
Another victim and Administration Officer at the Liaison office, Woseebimu Frank-Oputu said he was presently staying at the church with his family.
He said: “It was my pastor that came with a truck to carry my property. I and my family are putting up in the church.”
The occupants were initially served a notice signed by the Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Lands and Survey, Sir Alozie Nwala, and dated April 19.
The notice read: “That in contravention of the covenants and conditions contained in the Certificate of Occupancy issued to Bayelsa State Government in respect of plots 34&35 (No 5 Akassa Stree and plot 37 (No 9 Akassa Street ) Golf Course Extension Layout, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, notice is hereby given by the Rivers State Government that the occupants of the said property should vacate.
“Take notice that the occupants of the above mentioned properties are hereby given 14 days from the date of this notice to vacate buildings thereon.
“As the said buildings are not only constituting public nuisance, but also defacing the Rivers State 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.”