Edo govt waves cost of penalties for building plan violators — Isoken

Edo govt waves cost of penalties for building plan violators — Isoken


The Edo State government has waved the cost of penalties for property developers who contravene Town Planning laws in a bid to encourage them to regularize their relevant and title documents with the government.

The State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Isoken Omo disclosed during a chat with newsmen in Benin City, the State Capital.

She clarified that the one month moratorium — March 1st and 31st 2022, will enable property owners in the State to either validate or produce their documents in line with the recent government directive tagged, ‘operation show your building plan’. It is not meant for revenue drive.

According to her, “We waved the cost of that penalty because we have to accept some level of responsibility. If you come on your own to show us what you are building, we (government) will not charge you. We also made the prices reasonable. We are not trying to stifle people.

Isoken also stressed that the decision was taken to correct the distorted the Benin City Master Plan and Edo State Regional Plan by property developers who build without to approvals by the government.

The Commissioner hinted that the government may not hesitate to sanction anyone who flouts its the directive upon the expiration of the moratorium.

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Continuing, the Isoken said, “We are not saying that the government is innocent. Every areas has its fault. We have done as much as we should be doing.

“But we have started doing something — It is better than not doing anything. That is why we said there is no penalty for the contravention. But buildings without approval is a contravention of the law.

“Operation show your building plan is not a revenue drive. We need to know who is on ground so that we can plan. There are laws and punishments for violation of building codes.

“It is not everything that ends up in demolition. You can take our statistics — for every contravention that has happened, I know that we have not even done up to 2 percent demolition, which is done when all other options have failed.

“Before we demolish, we would have served several notices and gone through the whole processes and sometimes get a court order before embarking on demolition. It is always the last resort”, according to her.

She further noted that “The two Master Plans we had before are distorted and they do not match what the State should be. A lot of people are building without government approvals. That is not the way to go — That is abnormal, and it has huge implications.

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“If the Government does not know how many people who live in an area, it will have consequences on our roads. What kind of service will the government provide for healthcare, schools? What kind of roads, water, power do we put there or what the drainage system should look like and roads do we put there?

“For instance, a street that has 80 buildings should have feudal roads in between some of the house and take to a collector roads for ease of traffic and movements. These roads should 6-7 metres wide with the verge provided.

“Therefore if the Government does not have all the human resources even with technology to police you, we should find resources to police you to come and give me that information. So, that is what ‘operation show your building plan’ is about”, Isoken said.

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