The Ogun State Government and the wife of a former governor of the state, Olufunke Daniel have traded words over the demolition of DATKEM Plaza in the Ijebu Ode area of the state.
Although the state government said the five-storey building, was illegally situated and that it contravened the state’s physical planning laws, the former governor’s wife disagreed, and described the partial demolition by the government as “executive recklessness and irresponsibility”.
It was reported that the five-storey building was partially demolished in the early hours of Sunday.
Clips and pictures showing destruction on the structure were circulated across social media platforms in the state, generating outrage and concerns among the residents and the political class.
‘Partial Demolition, A Proactive Measure’
The state government, in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Olayiwola Abiodun, said the structure violated the building codes of the state with numerous defects.
He said several efforts made by the state government to halt further development on site were ignored by the developers.
The permanent secretary said government officials requested the structural engineer in charge of the building to avail the state of the structural equilibrium of the building, a request that was ignored.
According to the permanent secretary, what the government did in partially pulling down the defective building was to be proactive.
He challenged the owners of the structure to produce evidence of government approval in their possession.
The permanent secretary added that the building lacked stage certification, which is usually issued at every stage of construction.
He said that owners were served the necessary notices, including abatement, contravention, stop work and demolition between May and October 2022, which were ignored.
Meanwhile, the former First Lady through her lawyer slammed Governor Dapo Abiodun over what she called ‘illegality,’ saying she suffered “unimaginable and huge losses” due to the demolition.
In a statement signed by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Adeyinka Kotoye, of PAGE Law Office, the legal firm said the government ignored court papers “served on its agents on Thursday, September 7 asking them to stop all actions on the building”.
“I want to believe that the Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, was not informed of this illegality. But if he was informed and still decided to use the instruments of the State against our clients, it is nothing but executive recklessness. But we will continue to fight for justice and ensure that our clients,” the firm said.
The firm also explained that “This matter began when the Ogun State Planning and Development Authority scaled the building on August 1 without any prior notice. Interestingly, a quit notice was only served on August 31 by the same Planning and Development Authority asking the owner to vacate the premises within three days.
“Meanwhile, Datkem applied for unsealing and regularization of the building on August 2 and paid the mandatory fee of N500, 000 to the Ogun State government. We have evidence of this payment.
“However, we were shocked and astonished that the Ogun State government ignored the ongoing legal process and went ahead to demolish the complex in the early hours of Sunday. We want to believe the State Attorney General’s advice was ignored on this matter.
“Our clients, as law abiding citizens of Ogun State, will continue to seek redress in the courts. Even when our clients have suffered unimaginable and huge losses as a result of this illegal demolition, we will not relent in pursuing justice in the courts.”