The Commissioner for Capital City and Urban Development, Barr. Onyekachi Nwebonyi has vowed that he will not answer to the summons by the Ebonyi State House of Assembly stating that its an illegal act.
Nwebonyi who has been in the news this past weeks for the the various alleged wanton destruction, demolition of houses and other valuable properties belonging to citizen of the state has been summoned several times by the state house of Assembly led by the speaker Rt. Hon. Francis Nwifuru to come and answer for the petitions against him to no avail.
The Commissioner while fielding questions from newsmen in Abakaliki, capital of Ebonyi state however said the members of the house should go to court since he won’t be appearing before them.
He described those complaining against the action carried out by his office as ‘illiterates’ and insisted that he never regretted of using the language.
According to him: “You can’t build a new house without removing the old part of it. If the authority 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: “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,”
Nwebonyi also stated that the state 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 gone contrary to the law.
“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 arraigned in the court and if convicted, will be jailed for 12 months.”
“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? He questioned.