Posted by News Express | 28 August 2021 | 534 times
Following the seven days deadline within which owners of churches alleged to have contravened the town planning laws to free the land for the state government, the affected worship centres, have resorted to court as their last-ditch efforts to safeguard their properties, Tribune Online gathered.
The Uyo Capital City Development Authority (UCCDA) had marked some churches including the Dunamis Church, Ikpa Road and the God’s House of Refuge at Ikot Ebido Oku, for demolition for allegedly violating town planning regulations.
The demolition notice authorised by the Chairman, Mr Enobong Uwah, reads: ”The UCCDA during its routine monitoring exercise observed that your Church building located at 8, Ekpanya Street, Uyo, does not meet planning standards for approval.
“You have negated minimum requirements for such development. It is worthy of note that you are occupying\constructing an illegal structure without prior approval from the authority. The said illegal structure constitutes an offence and contravenes provisions of town and country planning law Cap 133, laws of Akwa Ibom State
“In view of the above, you are hereby given 7-days notice within which to remove the said illegal development and reinstate the land to its original state. Failure to comply with above, the authority will remove same and cost charged on you in addition in addition to any other legal action the authority may deem fit,” the statement said.
The founder of the Church, Pastor Andy, was alleged to have advised stakeholders, elders and leaders of the Churches under the aegis of Fathers of Faith, in support of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s succession plan in 2023, kicked against wholesale involvement of Christians in politics to the point of influencing the governor’s choice of successor, a remark said to have angered Emmanuel to the point of ordering clamp down on such Churches.
But speaking through his lawyer, Mr Imoh Akpan, the Pastor said “as a law-abiding citizen I am prepared to submit the entire episode for review hoping that through administrative or judicial means, there would be some form of interventions,” adding that “anything short of this will amount to a clear case of infractions on our rights.”
“We are law-abiding people, and like I said we will submit the entire episode for review, hoping that either administratively or judicially, there would be some form of Interventions, otherwise it will amount to a clear case of infractions on our rights,” he said.
On whether he suspected any foul play in the issue, the cleric said he would not introduce undertones, adding that his impression is that the UCCDA may have been misdirected considering that the building does not violate any town planning laws.
His words: “We would rather not introduce undertones but we will approach the issues as they come. First, of all our impression is that somebody may have been misdirected or has misdirected himself to have taken the actions that had been taken because if you take a look at the surroundings, the structure, the premises that are being queried, you will discover that it is probably the best engineering design or architectural masterpiece you can find around here,” he stressed.
Speaking on alleged opposition to the governor’s succession plan, Andy said: “I am not aware that the governor has a succession plan or has penciled down someone to succeed him. The governor has said he has no successor that God Almighty will determine his successor. And that to me means that he still has a lot on his plate to deliver to Akwa Ibom people.”
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