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AROUND ANAMBRA

Govt did not demolish petrol station, other structures –Okpoko

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INDEPENDENT Petrol Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Anambra State branch, recently held Anambra hostage following the shutting down of petrol stations across the state over what the association saw as unlawful and illegal demolition of petrol stations belonging to their members as well as non-compensation for destruction of their investments by the Anambra State Government .

IPMAN, in its position accused the state government of being insensitive to the plight of the citizenry especially the blight cast on some of its members as a result of what it described as wanton destruction of their means of livelihood without recourse to the attendant difficulties such demolition would pose on the families and dependants of affected marketers.

The petrol marketers in a bid to pay government back in its own coin, decided to vent its spleen on the populace by withdrawing their services in the interim only to cause mayhem in the state .

Although the impasse was barely 48 hours , following the timely intervention of Governor Willie Obiano, who waded in to calm frayed nerves, assuring petrol marketers in the state that the issue would be deliberated upon and amicable resolutions would also be reached .
This however, saw the setting up of a committee by the state government to address the matter . The move led to the compulsory truce reached between IPMAN and the state government .

Chairman of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Awka branch, Edmond Chukwuemeka Nkalu, who spoke to our reporter in Awka , said the position of engineers in the whole saga was that the siting of petrol stations in unapproved areas was inimical to public health, but he also said that the bulk of the problem lay on the absence of building control units in the state .

Nkalu also noted that the approval agency is expected to look at the total master plan of an area prior to siting a gas station, adding that filling stations should not be located in residential areas .

Also, the General Manager of the Anambra State Physical Planning Board, Victor Osita Okpoko, said the state government did not demolish approved structures and that the law required that people should get approval before siting petrol stations and other structures across the state .

He said demolished petrol stations in the state had no government approval, just as he informed also that many filling stations were operating in Anambra and no agency of government has attempted to demolish them because they have their permit.

When contacted, IPMAN Chairman in Anambra, Comrade Cletus Obiokafor, declined press interview on the condition that he was not the government that demolished petrol stations. .

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