No fewer than 300 houses have been earmarked for demolition in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, for reportedly contravening urban development law. General Manager of Benue State Urban Development Board, (UDB), Abraham Saint Gbileeka, who made this disclosure, on Thursday, in a chat with newsmen, explained that most of the affected structures were built on water channels.
“It’s true that people are building on water channels and it is our responsibility as a Board to stop them. The only weapon we have as a board is simple. “Once we discover that you have received a legitimate approval from the Board and you have gone ahead to build, we serve you an abetment notice which will lead to demolition. “Based on that, we have already earmarked over 300 houses for demolition in Makurdi alone. Most of these structures are built on water ways. Ninety percent of them do not have government approval.”
The UDB boss who, however, posited that marking a house does not necessarily mean it had been earmarked for demolition, explained that sometimes, houses were marked because they do not have any record with the Board. “Sometimes, some houses are marked because the owners of the structure might not have registered formally with us. And the moment the owner formalises the arrangement with us, that mark will be cleaned off.
“Secondly, if your structure is marked for demolition maybe because you built on water channel, whether it is approved or not approved, when we are carrying out demolition, we will certainly demolish it. “So, one of the reasons why these things are happening in this way is because some people like to cut corners in everything. Some people will go to the field and issue illegal approvals and then leave.”