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Tension as Rivers govt serves notice to demolish Bayelsa govt property in Port Harcourt 

Crisis is brewing between Rivers State and Bayelsa State governments following an eviction order served on workers occupying two buildings belonging to the latter.


The buildings marked for demolition are on Akassa Street in Old GRA, Port Harcourt.


The occupants confirmed that the set of flats on No. 5 and No. 9 Akassa Street belong to the Bayelsa State government, which were duly allocated to them (occupants).


They accused the Rivers State government of attemping to forcefully evict them from the properties.


They displayed a notice sent to them, signed by the Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Lands and Survey, Sir Alozie Nwala, and dated April 19, 2023.


The notice reads: “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 Street) 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 related 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.”


The affected tenants in the buildings, consisting of 12 flats, said they have lived there with their families for many years without any problem, noting that they are surprised at the 14-day eviction notice, which they said has since expired.


They confirmed that a team of policemen and officials of the Rivers State Government visited the place on Wednesday morning ,following a plan to demolish the properties.


One of the occupants, Smith Noah, said: “Some people came to paste a notice that we are causing nuisance and defacing the environment. So, Rivers State Government is giving us 14 days to pack out.


“We are not staying here on our own. We are Bayelsa State Government’s workers. I am Head of Protocol for Bayelsa State Government in Port Harcourt here.”


He said further: “We were thinking that if there is anything that the Rivers State Government wants to do with us, we have an office here, and the Rivers State Government knows the office. Ordinarily, they would have served the Bayelsa State Government a notice if there is any reason for us to vacate this place.


“Unfortunately, a few days ago, we heard information that they are coming to demolish this place.”


According to him, they had informed authorities of their state.


“They said we should wait, that they have already served the Rivers State Government a court order,” he added.


Noah said he was angry at the allegations contained in the notice.


“I have been here for five years now. You can see we are removing our things instead of (waiting for) somebody to come and destroy our property,” he said.


Another occupant, Bridget Allison, who said she had lived there for 11 years, wondered why a State government would act in such a way towards another State government.


She said: “The people that came here yesterday said the Rivers State government is coming to demolish this place.”


No official of the Rivers State government could be reached for comments on the situation.


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