Special Report: Inside Bayelsa State physical planning board, the rot that needs government attention
Over the last three weeks, we have received several requests to monitor the progress of the Bayelsa State physical planning board.
When the first request came, it was from a mechanic who had suffered unending extortion and levies imposed on his business by a company name “Pato link” who claimed to be a consultant of the Bayelsa State physical planning board.
Pato link according to the Mechanic operates by harassing and extorting money from mechanics and Motor Parks.
“Them go collect revenue from us, them go still come back and ask for Sanitation levy ” a Mechanic stated.
“See my shop, na just hand to mouth business I dey do, these people no get pity at all, If them come now if we no give them money, dem no go leave us” the mechanic added
When we contacted a member of the board, he declined to give comments on the controversy surrounding the events of Pato link but disclosed that the board was inaugurated to plan, monitor and ensure that Bayelsa State does not turn into a slum.
“As an agency of the State government, the board has many responsibilities but primarily to plan, monitor standard and ensure that Bayelsa State does not become a slum,” a member of the board told our correspondent
Another concerned citizen who spoke with our correspondent informed us that the board now operate two office, for obvious reasons.
“I can tell you, they now operate two office, one is the main office, the other one is used to extort money from uninformed members of the public” he stated
“They are promoting the slums, the government asked them to eradicate in the name of consultancy”
Another concerned citizen noted that the board was supposed to control development but with all indication, they were acting only as revenue collectors
“Some filling Station are paying as high as 5million naira in the name of correcting document. Other things like development permit is on the high side
“Our church, Anglican was asked to pay development permit or we pack up, the money requested was too much” he added
A source who spoke with us from the board confirmed the abnormality and disclosed that the money so collected was shared within the board, the higher your rank, the higher your share.
“The state development control has been bastardized. Revenue extortion is on the high side, while flooding and slum continue on a daily basis.” the source noted.
The few temporary staff we met at the development control were so afraid to speak. But one of them who was bold enough told us that the Director tried to be professional with all his dealings but nearly got into trouble with board members and director of administration who seems not to be pleased with the way he was going about his duties.
“It seems the director (Director of development control) is hiding from the public. If you get to Samphino junction, there is an ongoing construction of a filling station, the director asked us to put a stop-work notice there, but after some weeks it was removed by members of the board and work is ongoing, that place is not good for fuel station.
All effort to speak with the director proves abortive as calls put across to his cell phones were not returned.