It is definitely a precarious and devastating moment for anyone whose structure was demolished or at the verge of being brought down on the order of Ogun State government at a time like this when the country is ravaged with excruciating economic downturn.
This ongoing government intervention has caused many people living in Akute/Alagbole various degrees of health related problems ranging from stroke, high blood pressure and some already on emergency line at different hospitals in the state.
Affected in this hardline exercise is a structure belonging to former member of Federal House of Representatives who represented Ife constituency, Hon Rotimi Makinde.
Giving his own account, he said buildings that were within 6 meters of government’s right of way were initially marked for demolition to give way to the development that is going on in Akute/Alagbole a border town between Lagos and Ogun State; but to the people’s surprise the buildings were later marked 18 meters instead.
Makinde clarified that he took a loan from Diamond Bank in 2005 to acquire the property which cost him well over 100 million naira. Makinde only served as parliamentarian between 2011 to 2015.
Hon Rotimi Makinde one of the victims of the ongoing demolition said:
“I understand there are multitude of affected property owners already weeping profusely at Akute, it was 14th of March 2017 that they marked the building again for 18 meters demolition as against 6 meters we had since 2012. In actual fact I understand few buildings to my property had been demolished…. It was indeed a rude shock to me but if the decision is to extend the road in the public interest, who am I to complain?”
“However, I just hope the government would be sensitive to the plight of the people, what actually baffled me is the sudden re-marking which I understand was done abruptly, initially it was marked 6 meters and now to 18 meters which will now consume my entire premises including the structures therein. The premises used to be a school owned by me since 2005 which was personally pulled down in view of the ongoing development, it was reset backward to give room to the present shopping complex in line with the 2012 notice….Well life continues.” Makinde stated.
Meanwhile, not long ago, Hon Rotimi Makinde’s hotel, Capricornian Hotel also in Akute/Alagbole was locked up for almost four months on tax related matters although it was later resolved after many economic loses were incurred by the hospitality business.
From my little understanding I think Urban and Regional Planning Act makes provision for compensation for residents of areas proposed by the government for improved rehabilitation, renovation and upgrade of the physical environment, social facilities and infrastructure of a particular area.
But before any wilful displacement of persons is carried out for developmental purpose government should at least provide compensation for such persons to be able to move on with their lives. Government needs to engage the people who are affected at Akute/Alagbole ongoing demolition it must also be prepared to provide alternative settlement for them without any loss of material benefit and comfort on the part of the people to cushion the effect of the loss they suffer(ed).
Even as I commend the government for their good intention in the interest of larger majority, I will also not hesitate to appeal to our visionary leader, His Excellency the Governor of Ogun State Sen. Ibikunle Amosun and Ogun State Director-General, Bureau of Lands and Survey, Mr. Biyi Ismail, and other key stakeholders in the state on land matters as well as physical planing to look inwards and make necessary arrangements so that all those affected can be accordingly compensated.
**Mrs. Biola Ajenifuja is a public commentator, she wrote from Akute/Alagbole Ogun State.**