…Land approves for International Market – LCDA Chairman
By Olabode Jegede and Kayode Tokede
Less than six days to handover to new administration of Gov elect Prince Dapo Abiodun, the taskforce of outgoing Governor Ibikunle Amosun on Thursday commenced the demolition of 40 shops and traders’ stalls at Sango in Ogun State over a proposed market in partnership with a private company.
A visit to the scene by Nigerian NewsDirect revealed that the Ogun state taskforce surrounded by heavily armed police officers were demolishing a storey building close to the Sango Bridge at Joju bus stop.
As gathered, the only commercial bank along the axis, Ecobank Nigeria and warehouses buildings might be affected by the ongoing demolition.
Effort to speak with the leader of the Ogun state taskforce proved adoptive as their leader said, “we have a team of media.”
Speaking with our correspondent at the scene of ongoing demolition, a landowner, Moshood Yekini Iyaniwura, said the case was at Ota high court, stressing that the Ogun state task officials disobey court order.
According to him, the landowners along the route had appointed a lawyer and the case was meant for second hearing on May 28, 2019.
In his words, “A year ago, we saw a notice at our complex that the government wants to use it as a market space. We started with the process by taking up a lawyer and wrote letters to those who are agencies/ministries involved like the Ogun state Governor, DG of Land Bureau and so on.
“So, May 4, 2019, they came back again to paste another quit notice of seven-day ultimatum. Then, we contacted a lawyer and he said the best thing is to make a case with them which we did. The case came up on the 13th of May, 2019, and nobody from the defendant show up at the court.
“Then, the judge, Justice Lamina of the Ota High Court said we should reserve a notice the second time and adjourned the case to May 28, 2019.
“All of a sudden, I received a call that the Ogun state task force has brought a caterpillar to demolish our building. The reason might be because I went on air at radio station to make appeal to the Chairman, Sango/Ijoko Local Council.
Development Areas (LCDA) when he brought some naval officers to paste those notice and then we challenged him, as they started the demolition of my father’s house.
“I even spoke with them to allow me dig up my parents’ tomb in the building and the reply was that after the demolition, I can do that.”
He explained to our correspondent that he does not have Certificate of Occupancy, stressing that he had an approved plan of the building since 1975 which he showed our correspondent.
Speaking further he said, “They responded that I should have brought those documents to Abeokuta. The building was actually given to a developer, as the area was swampy. The developer has just spent seven years out of 15 years we agreed upon.
“With this demolition, the developer will be affected as two buildings were done by him.”
Appealing to the Ogun state government, he said, “My appeal to the government is to rethink because what we heard was that the area has been shared among government personalities by using the outgoing governor name to take over the land.”
He disclosed that some landowners might have compromise and went behind to settle with politicians in a move not to have their building demolished.
In s swift response, Chairman Sango/Ijoko LCDA, Alhaji Fatai Lawal, said the government has signed an agreement with a private company to build ultra-modern shopping mall along the axis.
He explained to our correspondent on telephone that the role of the government is to provide land while the private company carries out the construction this year.
According to him, the Ogun state government had issued several warning over plans to demolish the traders’ buildings, stressing that the property owners did not follow due process in filing the case in the court.
In his words, “Two years ago, the state government came to intervene in the place that they have taken the land. The buildings were marked for demolition, even the swampy area as the government intention was to use it for a market place.
“In 2012, they were the ones that carried placards telling Governor Ibikunle Amosun that, they do not have a market and he promised them to get a market for them.
That swampy area is where people are being killed for rituals and for raping girls as hoodlums are gathered there all the time.
Early this year, I was called by the commissioner of town planning to serve them the notice and that was what took me there. The governor has signed and awarded that place for the contractor to work.
The council does not have that power to construct such building. It is the state that has the power but because it is under my jurisdiction, I must be in charge. I have not been there for the past two months. A petition was written to me from Eleweeran which the Police invited me for. I told them that I do not know anything about it, only that I was expected to provide securities.
They took me, Ado-Odo Ota Local Government to court which I did not go because I do not have anything to do.”
He explained to our correspondent that the state government might compensate the landowners going forward.
He used the opportunity to warn landlords to always get approval from government agencies before building houses on designated areas meant for social amenities.
In his words, “This will teach others that whenever we sell lands. We should leave some areas that could used for schools, hospitals, roads, among others.
“I am not the one who demolished the place and I did not even go there but the development of this state is what I want.
“When the rain fell on Monday, if you see the flood around that area, you will be surprised. We cannot continue like that.
The demolition is not here alone, it is also happening in Abeokuta and governor has said that, he will work till the last day of his tenure.
“It is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) as government will provide the land and securities while the contractors will provide finance to develop the area. We have signed the agreement.”