About 25 workers of P and P Petrol Station who lost their jobs sequel to the recent demolition of their station in Onitsha by the Anambra State Government have accused the Anambra State Government of acting out of malice.
The placard carrying workers who made this accusation during a protest at the scene of the demolished station, lamented the hardship the action of the government had plunged them into, claiming that they had lost their source of livelihood, with their dependants also suffering.
Some of the placards by the protesting workers read:
''Government should obey rule of law''; ''We have lost our job by this senseless action'', ''Government cannot approbate and reprobate'', and ''we are dying of hunger since we lost our job, govt should do something''.
The counsel to Chipet International Limited, owners of the demolished P and P Petrol Station, Barr Clement Iloegbune Okoye, who addressed journalists, said the station was demolished without any form of notice, while business operations were on-going.
He said the station was obviously demolished out of malice, as his client had all the documents aiding the business.
'We were only told that the reason for the demolition was because the station was sited in a residential area, but we are not the only station sited in a residential area. Along this road, there are over four more stations here. Why did they choose P and P for demolition, Okoye wondered.
He said they acquired the land for business purposes and that the government signed the certificate of occupancy, which we said he had in his possession.
'We were also certified by the department of petroleum resources to store and sell petroleum products, so why did they demolish it?
'When we first began operations here, one Mr Eric Udemba took us to court, stating that we could not operate here because it is a residential area, but we won. He proceeded to Appeal Court, and we won again and he was awarded costs. He was not satisfied, so he went on to the Supreme Court, but later withdrew and paid us the cost awarded,' Okoye explained.
He however, believed that the litigant might have decided to use the state government to finish the work it started, having not been able to achieve much in the court.
'I state without any fear of contradiction that the Anambra State Government has no business demolishing P and P Petrol Station at No 55 Ziks Avenue, Fegge, Onitsha,' he insisted.
Okoye told journalists that he had written the state governor, through the attorney general of the federation and the chairman of the Anambra State Physical Planning Board, asking him to effect restitution for the damage of the N500m property of the company.
A task force put together, comprising the Ministry of Environment and the Transport ministry for the demolition of shanties in Awka and Onitsha has for weeks been demolishing structures deemed illegal.
Attempts to reach the chairman of the demolition committee, Chief Uchenna Okafor, who is also the Commissioner for Transport, for his reaction could not yield result as he neither picked calls made to his phones, nor replied a text message sent to him.