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The Bayelsa State government has sealed off the premises of Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) oil and gas facility, in Egbebiri, a Biseni community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Honourable Ebi Waribigha, Chairman of Bayelsa State Physical Planning and Development Board, said the sealing-off of the facility followed an eviction order issued by the State Physical Planning and Development Tribunal in Yenagoa.
The eviction order granted the Bayelsa State government leave to effect the eviction of Agip and all occupants of the premises, to enable the Physical Planning and Development Board conduct environmental, health, technical integrity and safety checks at the facility.
The facility was allegedly built without a building permit as required by the Bayelsa State Physical Planning and Development Law (2015).
The court had also directed the Commissioner of Police, the Commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) and all security agencies to facilitate the enforcement of the eviction.
The owner of the facility allegedly continued work, “despite a subsisting stop-work order and a notice to discontinue drilling on the site without permit,” Waribigha said.
He explained that the facility violated the Bayelsa State Physical Planning and Development Law of 2015, which “requires that all developers of existing developments in the state, which were built without obtaining development permits under previous planning laws applicable in the state, submit such developments to scrutiny and validation” in the interest of public safety.
The court had also ordered that all the occupants of the facility remain evicted until the company complies with all the requirements of the Bayelsa State Physical Planning and Development Law of 2015.
According to Waribigha, the law is statutorily empowered to provide effective physical planning, development control and a framework for infrastructural development in the state.