Property developers and builders in Edo State have applauded steps taken by the state government to rid the building and construction sector of criminally minded persons who go about swindling stakeholders by disguising as government officials.
A cross-section of the stakeholders, in a chat with journalists in Benin City, said steps taken by the state government to rid the sector of impersonators will boost confidence of investors, who are spurred to invest in the state on the back of reforms spearheaded by Governor Godwin Obaseki in land administration, taxation, among others. A property developer, Mr. Maxwell Orobosa, said the swift response of the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development in moving against persons impersonating officials of the state government, is commendable.
He said that now that developers have been informed of how to identify these fraudsters, “it will go a long way to improve how things are done, as some stakeholders have in the past fallen victims to the imposters who extort money from them.”
Another stakeholder in the sector, Mr. Lewis Osasu, noted that information put out by the state government will guide developers and builders on how to avoid fraudsters and ensure that they properly pay dues to the right government agency.
Recall that the state government cautioned land developers in the state over antics of individuals and groups who impersonate government officials to defraud land developers, noting that state officials do not demand and collect cash on construction sites.
Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Erimona Oye Edorodion, said: “imposters go about in private unbranded vehicles (cars and buses) to defraud unsuspecting developers of their hard-earned money.”
He said that “The Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development does not collect cash at building construction sites, rather all payments are made via designated banks into Edo State Government Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) Accounts.”
He noted, “Only officials of the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development are empowered by law to demand approved building plans from developers at building construction site. The officials visit building construction sites in the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development’s branded Hilux vehicles with the official Government number plates.”