Barely one week after he was sworn in by Governor Adams Oshiomhole as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, thousands of Igbo traders at Mission Road, Benin City, Edo State, yesterday, protested to the state Government House, calling for the removal of Maj. Lawrence Loye, over what they described as his unwarranted closure of their shops in the area.
The placard-carrying protesters, who lamented that they woke up to see their shops 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.
They contended that operating businesses in the state had been hell due to situations where their shops were either locked or they were asked to pay exorbitant taxes.
Reacting, Maj. Loye described the call for his sack as nonsense, explaining that the shops were locked up because the owners refused to obey the sanitation laws of the state, which he said, resulted in the blockage of drains constructed by the state government on Mission Road.
He said: “These people are destroying government property and unless they clear the drains and ensure daily cleaning of the business area, we will not open the market.
“Today ( January 21) is supposed to be sanitation day and I was at the market as early as 7:30am to ensure that those sweeping the road and gardeners were around.
“When we started monitoring to ensure that the sanitation law was complied with, we discovered that the store owners or the landlords had blocked the drainages which were only constructed six months ago.”