Poised to ensure order and sanity in the built environment, the Edo State Ministry of Physical Planning, Urban and Regional Development on Tuesday expanded its ‘Operation Plan Edo’ exercise to new areas in the Benin metropolis.
The Ministry continued the recertification exercise and sealed gas and petroleum stations, schools, hotels, event centres, guest houses and other public spaces operating without permits in parts of Benin City, the Edo State capital.
The exercise took off at Saint Saviour Road and extended to parts of Upper Sokponba Road in Benin City, where officials served Contravention Notices and sealed gas and petrol stations, event centres, guest houses and schools which were built without approvals.
Leading the operation, Director, Enforcement and Development Control of the Ministry, Mr. Henry Enabulele, said the exercise is to prevent major fire incidents that may be caused by indiscriminate siting of such hazardous businesses in residential areas and ensure that only approved facilities are open to serve the public.
He noted that the exercise would be expanded to other parts of Benin City, calling on operators to contact the Ministry to ratify the status of their establishments.
According to Enabulele, “During the exercise, we discovered many anomalies. Most of the gas stations in Saint Saviour Road were located in clusters around residential areas. About seven gas stations were on a segment of the road. If there was a fire outbreak, it would result in a huge inferno. The state government is concerned about the incidence of fire outbreak and the consequence this may have on residents.
“Government encourages intending owners of gas and petrol stations to come to the Edo State Ministry of Physical Planning, Urban and Regional Development, to get their building permits approved before siting gas and petrol stations.”
Some of the gas and petrol stations sealed include Ledor Filling/Gas station, Small Market Filling Station, BW Cooking Gas Station, LPG Gas Station, Oboye Gas Station and two other unnamed gas stations, all situated in the Saint Saviour Road in Benin City.
He advised further that it is a criminal offence to tamper with a government seal. The owners of the sealed premises are advised to visit the Ministry for further directives.