Promise Gogorodari, a Lagos-based businessman and owner of Prudent Hotel, Eleme, one of the two hotels demolished by the Rivers state government, says he was not given any right of hearing and he did not breach the lockdown order in the state.
Governor Wike addressing the press at the site.
Governor Nyesom Wike on Sunday supervised the pulling down of Prudent Hotel, Eleme, while other state officials supervised Etemeteh Hotel, Onne, for allegedly violating the lockdown measures in the state and thereby breaching the state Executive Order.
The governor had earlier imposed a lockdown in the state and directed all hotels to suspend services immediately as a measure to check the spread of COVID-19. He had warned residents that failure to comply with the order would attract stiff penalties.
But Gogorodari said he did not violate any law with his business to warrant the demolition of the property accusing the government of not giving him fair hearing, and said no investigation was carried out before the demolition of his property.
The hotel owner said the incident has made his staff members lose their jobs, and that it is a negative development for investors in the state.
“I am based in Lagos but I am not in the right frame of mind to speak now. There is nobody who will not feel bad about this. It is a hotel that I built for the past seven years. The demolition of hotels is a setback to the state in terms of investment,” he said.
“That was an investment that was taking care of my family and relatives and people around me. There was no fair hearing before the demolition took place. With this, many people are out of jobs.
“I did not violate any order. The government was supposed to do some investigations before doing that. And if they found me wanting, then another procedure should be followed; not demolishing a structure like that.”
Many Nigerians have taken to several media to condemn the action of the governor as an illegal act that can only tolerated in military dictatorship.
But neighbors told Patmos Media Line Correspondent that the hotel indeed violated the executive order as the bar was operated fully and the barbecue was groovy.
The neighbors said demolishing the hotel was draconian as other punishment modes could have saved the state from “economic embarrassment”.