Journalism of Courage

Impunity reigns in Delta State as Gov. Okowa demolishes petrol station, owner hauls him to court

... seeks compensation from Atiku's Vice-Presidential Candidate in 2023 poll

The illegal demolition of a gas and petrol station by the Delta State Government in August this year has been challenged in court by the owner, Mr Paul Sunday Efanimjor.

Efanimjor is seeking justice and compensation for his demolished property, Persecondnews reports.

He said he decided to head for the court after he had exhausted all avenues of dialoguing with Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa-led government in a bid to amicably resolve the dispute arising from the demolition of his property but to no avail.

Okowa is the Vice-Presidential Candidate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the 2023 general elections.

Efanimjor said:”Therefore, I see the legal option as the best and credible path to tread this time in order to secure justice and due compensation for my property illegally demolished by the Delta State government in August 2022 with incomprehensible impunity.

“I think the legal path is the only and best option for me to seek justice in a society where the ‘powerful’ treat the small man with flagrant disdain.”

Efanimjor, who showed proofs for the legal and due process of acquiring the property, including the Certificate Of Occupancy (C of O) for the demolished property, said: “I acquired the property by due process of law. Still, Governor Okowa’s surrugates are bent on using the paraphernalia of government to compel me to surrender my property to the state without compensation.

“In hatching their wicked plot, these persons were quick in strengthening and perfecting their devious strategy and devised several subtle maneuverings to deny me due compensation for my demolished property.

“They even went further with several threats to my life.”

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Expressing frustrations about an amicable resolution of the dispute before heading to court, Efanimjor said: “Governor Okowa didn’t show any concern.”

The distraught petrol marketer, who also condemned the brute force with which the Delta State Government invaded his premises and questionably demolished his hard-earned property, decried soaring impunity within the apparatchik of government in the state.

He berated the Delta State Commissioner for Housing, Honourable Festus Ochonogor; Arch. Andy Imafidon; Honourable Chuks Agboma, Ika north Peoples Democratic Party Chairman; Arch. Kester Ifeadi; and Honourable Uwoma Ogboi, Special Adviser to Gov. Okowa; Honourable Okocha, Personal Assistant to Gov. Okowa; and Mr. Elvis, Assistant Director at Urban & Regional Planning Board, Delta State, for their subtle roles in the callous and illegal act.

He accused them as foot-soldiers of Governor Okowa undertaking a devious mission to intimidate and cow him into giving in to their heinous ploy.

Narrating his ordeal further, he expressed surprise that the government of Delta State could defiantly err on the side of law and brutally infringed on his fundamental right to own landed property anywhere in Nigeria.

“The painful incident of the illegal demolition of his property obviously cast a long doubt on the Senator Ifeanyi Okowa’s Government’s commitment to promote social justice and rule of law in the state.”

On why he chose to go to court now when Governor Okowa’s political fame is being handsomely toned to project his ambition for Vice-President, and might cause a dent on his political ambition, Efanimjor pointedly said that his going to court to seek redress was a fallout of Governor Okowa’s refusal to do the needful to calm frayed nerves, adding that the concerted efforts he had made to find a peaceful way out of the conflict were botched.

“My business is now put on hold following the sudden demolition of my property by the Okowa’s government without recourse for rule of law.

“So, rather than resorting to self-help which is forbidden by law, I have decided to seek the face of law at a competent court of law, and l’m looking forward to getting due compensation for my property which was illegally demolished by the government of Delta State,” he said

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