Fred Itua, Abuja
Senator George Thompson Sekibo has said the decision of the Rivers State Government to build a school on the site of a demolished hotel was in order.
Sekibo, who spoke with newsmen in Abuja, also said he was convinced Governor Nyesom Wike, lawyer and democrat, followed the law and due process before approving the demolition.
He said government reserved every right to convert confiscated property to public use.
“I feel concerned about the negative comments against the governor on the social media. However, most of the things we read on social media are unverified and we don’t even know whether they are true or not.
“I have not read the Executive Order which the governor signed as part of the measures to curb COVID-19. I am not also conversant with other instructions that he have been giving in the state since I have been in Abuja from the time the Federal Government locked down the FCT and other parts of the country till now.
“The law has to take its full course on whoever owns an hotel and he is contravening the lockdown order or any of the laws of the state. The governor is a democrat and lawyer. Being a lawyer, I don’t think he will just wake up, leave Port Harcourt where there are many hotels, and move to Eleme and target just two hotels to destroy. Maybe, something criminal or anti-public interest was being done there. I believe that he will follow due process and he may have followed the due process because I don’t know all the laws in the state.
“I am not in the state House of Assembly. They may have their own laws that they are also following. For instance, if a kidnapper is caught red-handed on the strength of the anti-kidnapping law in the state, he goes in for it and this law covers other areas of criminal activities.
“So a person who commits kidnapping and related criminal activity may have his property confiscated. If a property is confiscated based on the application of the laws of the state, that is the law and you can’t fault the governor based on that.
“The structure on the property could be brought down and the land left bare without development or the government may decide to use the land for any other thing in the interest of the public.
“I have heard stories that one of the young men that owns one of the hotels is an alleged criminal, declared wanted by the state government. If it is a criminal situation that has to do with kidnapping, and killing, then the anti – kidnapping law of the state will hold him.
“If the law holds him and the governor takes such action against him, there is no way you can go and query the governor. The governor is fighting to ensure that COVID – 19 does not spread much in the State.”
On the conversion of the property for building a primary school, Sekibo said: “If the law said a criminal’s land should be confiscated, it will be taken over by the government; that’s the meaning. If it is now a government land, government has the power to put whatever structure it wants to build on it. If the government decide to build a school on the land, it is for public or community service.”