BARELY one week after he was sworn in as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment by Governor Adams Oshiomhole, thousands of Igbo traders at Mission Road, Benin City, Monday, protested to the state Government House calling for the removal of Maj.Lawrence Loye, over what they described as unwarranted closure of their shops in the area.
The placard carrying protesters who lamented that they woke up to see their stores locked up for reasons unknown to them, described Loye as a dictator and appealed to Governor Oshiomhole to "save shop owners from the hands of Maj.Loye" adding that operating businesses in the state "has been hell with us due to this kind of environment where they either lock up your shops or they asked you to pay exorbitant taxes".
But in a swift reaction, Maj.Loye described the call for his sack as nonsensical, explaining that the shops were locked up because the owners refused to obey the sanitation laws of the state which resulted to the blockage of the drains constructed by the state government along Mission Road.
Loye asserted that " these people are destroying government property and unless they evacuate the drains and ensure daily cleaning of the business area, we will not open the market. Today (Monday) is supposed to be sanitation day and I was at the marker as early as 7:30am to ensure that those sweeping the road and gardeners are around. When we started monitoring to ensure that the sanitation law is complied with, we discovered that the store owners or the landlords have used dirts to block the drainage system which was only constructed six months ago.
"The accredited waste managers were around but the shop owners refused to pack up the waste to enable the waste managers take them away. Until they come here and sign an undertaking that they will keep the area neat the shops will remain closed. We are expecting rains now so we cannot afford to use refuse to block the drains. Government spent money to build these things for the good of the people therefore we will not tolerate any attempt not to comply with the state sanitation laws" he declared.