Members of the Association of Hoteliers (ABOH) in Borno State have appealed to the state government to pay compensations for their demolished properties or rebuild the structures.
The state government had in June set up a committee to demolish some hotels that violate law and order guiding the business in the State.
Speaking to the newsmen in Maiduguri, Secretary of the Association, Abraham Kaanti at a news conference in Maiduguri, lamented that at this critical post-insurgency period, when the Federal Government is creating jobs for the teeming youths, the Borno state government is destroying several properties, saying that no fewer than 57 hoteliers who are creating jobs for teeming youth in the metropolis have suffered from the government’s act.
The demolition, which was carried out by Kaka Shehu-led committee on June 2, 2018, did not spare owners of restaurants, provisional stores and fast-food joints.
“We are operators affected by the demolition exercise. We have been operating hotel business for almost 40 years, and suddenly the Borno state government started the demolition of our properties without adequate notice.
“Our properties such as refrigerators, televisions, chairs among others were looted while the demolishing was ongoing on June 2, 2018. We have been paying taxes to the State and Federal Governments,” he said.
According to him, the demolition exercise made us to feel being treated as non-Nigerians not withstanding that our operations as hoteliers provided jobs for the indigenes.
He continued, “Some of our staff are managers, waiters, guards, cleaners among others in our hotels. We also felt that we are being treated this way because most of us are not from Borno state.
“We are Nigerians and the Constitution empowers us to live and do business in the Federation. Our efforts to hear from the state government on the way forward after the demolition exercise proved abortive. We have written letters to the state government, but there was no response.”
He also called we call on state government to look into the issue with a view to compensating them as soon as possible.
He further disclosed that three of his members died of high blood pressure, as a result of trauma over the demolished of several hotel structures.
Responding, the Borno State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Kaka Shehu Lawan, who is also Chairman of KSDC said government’s concern over new trend of crimes, especially in the Galadima area, where most of the hotels are located necessitated the action.
He stressed that the situation if not checked, would breed social ills more devastating than the Boko Haram insurgency that had ravaged the state for nine years.
He said that the affected hoteliers in the demolition exercise were notified on government’s intention in January, March and April this year.
According to him, there was no response from any of the affected hoteliers before the three-day demolition notice in June this year that expired on June 2, 2018.