A Ghana-based Nigerian businessman, Amaechi Ofulue, has accused the Delta State Taskforce of demolishing his house without any authority to do so.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the government pulled down the building after it was discovered that it served as kidnappers’ hideout.
But Amaechi said the house in Idimu Idu Quarters, Ubulu-Uku, Aniocha Local Government Area of the state, was used by kidnappers without his consent or knowledge.
He said after the kidnappers were arrested, he went to the police to explain his innocence when task force officials arrived and started pulling the house down.
He said, “I have been building the house since 2009. In January this year, I hired a security guard, Samuel, and I told my brother to help me monitor the construction.
“In April, while I was in Ghana, I was told by policemen that Samuel and some people kidnapped a man and hid him in my house.
“The policemen arrested Samuel and his group members after the man they kidnapped escaped. They also arrested my brother, Ikechukwu Ofulue, and a cousin of mine. I came to Nigeria immediately and went to Ogwashi Ukwu Police Station.”
The businessman said the prime suspects absolved him and members of his family of complicity.
He said after police investigations did not find anything linking them to the incident, he continued with the construction of his building.
However on June 3, 2013, taskforce officials stormed the building and began demolishing it without any prior warning.
He said, “I was initially with labourers at the building site; but a few minutes after I left to see off a friend, I received a phone call that task force officials had driven out the labourers and were demolishing my house.
“When I rushed back to the scene, I saw about 50 armed policemen. The officials were using a bulldozer to pull down my house. As I approached the building, the policemen threatened to shoot me if I came closer. I had to turn back.”
Ofulue, who said he had spent about N30m on the property, wondered why it was demolished without prior notice. He said all efforts by him to speak with the relevant authorities had proved abortive.
He said, “The property had been completed. It was only plumbing work that remained. The taskforce men just demolished the house without any reason.
“I am not a criminal. Even if you check my passport, you will see that I was not in the country when the kidnapping took place. Must I suffer for a crime I did not commit?”
When contacted on the telephone, Police Public Relations Officer, Delta State Command, Lucky Uyabeme, said he was not aware of the incident. He however said it was not the job of policemen to demolish buildings.