Workers at the ministry

By Jethro Ibileke/Benin

An attempt by suspected arsonists to set fire on a building housing the state ministry of environment and sustainability was Monday night reportedly foiled by security operatives.

The ministry is located on the second floor of the 10-story building, one of the state secretariat blocks, popularly known as Palm House.

It was gathered that vital documents of roads and erosion control projects worth multi-million naira, awarded in the last 12 years, are kept in the ministry.

Policemen and operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) took a strategic position at the ministry’s complex on Tuesday morning.

Officials of the ministry were also seen evacuating office files to safe custody in the government house.

None of them was willing to comment.

This is coming less than 24 hours after Governor Godwin Obaseki, stated that the N30 billion Benin stormwater project awarded by the Adams Oshiomhole-administration, was a ploy to defraud Edo people.

Meanwhile, the Edo state government said it deployed security operatives on Monday night to safeguard the premises of Palm House, following intelligence reports of an arson attempt at the Ministry of Environment and Sustainability offices, to destroy critical documents pertaining to the N30 billion Benin stormwater project.

Secretary to the State Government, Barr. Osarodion Ogie, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.

He, however, assured that the government will ensure that it uncovers the details surrounding the project and its execution and also assured that all those culpable are brought to justice.

“Following the commitment of the Edo state government to probe the N30 billion Benin stormwater project, the state received intelligence of a possible arson at the offices of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainability, which houses vital documents on the project.

“The government immediately deployed security operatives to guard the premises of the Ministry overnight to protect its assets.

“We have successfully evacuated these vital documents to a safe location to ensure their integrity and in readiness for a probe.

“Government will ensure that it uncovers the details surrounding the project and its execution and also assure that all those culpable are brought to justice.

“We will do right by Edo people as always and work assiduously to ensure that our people get value for our money as regards the execution of the N30 billion stormwater project,” Ogie said.