Ebonyi prohibits street hawking, illegal structures - Commissioner


Again, Ebonyi State Commissioner for Capital City Development and Urban Development, Barr Peter Onyekachi Nwebonyi described as an illegal his summon by the members of the State House of Assembly over the alleged the molestation of residents and destruction of property in Abakaliki.

The Commissioner who made this known on Friday at Abakaliki while responding to a question about the outcome of his summon by the State Assembly, insisted it was illegal since the state has prohibited street hawking and erection of illegal structures in the state capital territory.

Recall that Barr Nwebonyi for over a month ago was issued a summon order by the ad-hoc committee of the House to elicit his response based on the allegations against his office about the property destroyed and residents molested but had been reportedly shunned the committee till date. 

He however, described those complaining against the action carried out by his office as 'illiterates' and insisted he has never regretted using the language.

"You can't build a new house without removing the old part of it. If the authourity has removed all the illegal structures, for example, to widen the roads, will you call it illegal demolition.

"The law provides 10 metres for street and 8 metres for close but unfortunately, you see people encroaching on these provisions, by leaving 4 metres, 5 metres as the width of the street. Where on Earth can you obtain such arrangement even in our local villages - our local track roads are always about seven to eight metres.

"So, I described those who are complaining against our action as illiterates, and I have not regretted about using that language, because an educated person should know that a capital city is different from a village. And in a capital city like Ebonyi, there are specified measurement which a street must be."

He added: "If you are complaining that we've destroyed your fence or building, the first question you ask the person; have you obtained your building permit before erecting that fence?  Because If you fail to obtain your building permit, before embarking on any infrastructural development within the capital city is an offence punishable under Section 14, 16 and 17 of Abakaliki Capital Territory law, which provides 12 months imprisonment, and fine, for you to build anything, meaning anything fence, building, and if you do it without obtaining this express approval, such structure must be demolished - that is the position of the law and developer will be areigned in the court and if convicted will be jailed for 12 months."

Nwebonyi also stated that Ebonyi has prohibited street hawking and advised those complaining against the action carried out by his office should rather seek redress from the judiciary arm of government as according to him, his office has not contradicted the law.

"Street hawking is completely prohibited. We have our international market, we have our main markets inside this park we are talking about. Provisions are made where people will be selling mama-put in the park. We don't sell mama-put in front of the Government House gate. Anybody complaining 'they poured my food on the ground,' the first question should be, where were you when the taskforce poured your food or pushed your something down? You know most times, we abandon on the issue only to rely on sentiment, you know it's fallacious - that is fallacy of hasty to conclusion and appeal to pity.

"When issue is raised you throw some relevant questions, where were you - where are you in your resturant and taskforce came and pushed your food down? If you are committing a crime and probably, the taskforce trying to put things right either by arresting you, who is responsible? He who seeks equity must go with clean hands. If you see one robbing another person with gun, and an officer on the process of arresting the criminals, he sustains an injury, will he establish a case of assult against that person. The answer is no because he is using reasonable force to enforce the law. 

"How can I answer the summon of the House - illegal summon. The summon is illegal one, because the person summoning me is transferring personal aggression, but I don't want to go into that because the matter has been laid to rest.

"The person summoning me - he has a case here. He has a case with the Ministry, so, he can't be the judge in his own case. If you feel we have gone astray, go to court. We have the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary arms of the Government and we have our respective duties. So, if you feel that anyone has exceeded his limit, you go to the third arm which is the Judiciary and seek redress. Just as I said, the matter has been laid into rest, because the summon is an illegal one," Barr Nwebonyi concluded.

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