The Ogun State government early Sunday morning started the demolition of a five-storey building, DATKEM Plaza, owned by Olufunke Daniel, the wife of a former governor of the state, Gbenga Daniel.
Mr Daniel, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) like Governor Dapo Abiidun, is the senator representing Ogun East district.
Our correspondent who visited the site observed that parts of the building had been demolished.
Neighbours, who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES, said workers believed to be agents of the state government began the demolition exercise around 3 a.m. on Sunday.
A resident, Kamorudeen Alaran, said the exercise was undertaken under police protection.
“We couldn’t sleep. I saw police vehicles so I went back inside. They didn’t leave until after 5 a.m. this morning.
Government responsible for demolition – Developer
In a press statement issued later on Sunday, the Project Manager and Developer of the project, Olusegun Lawal, said the state government carried out the demolition.
He said the government gave the owner of the property only a three days notice.
Mr Lawal said the government listed its reason for ordering the removal of the property as inadequate parking space, muster point and airspace.
“There is no single structural defect on the building and all relevant and necessary government approvals were obtained.
“Reasons adduced by the Government are: 1. Not enough parking space (front of Building is Folagbade str. Sided by two (2) undeveloped streets which are being prepared to be tarred to support parking while the empty piece of land at the back is being negotiated for lease to complement car parking,” Mr Lawal added.
“Inadequate Muster Point: Muster point is any space outside the building where people can gather in case of fire or emergency. There is ample space around the building that can be used as Muster Point.
“Inadequate Airspace. This is a new one. But there is enough airspace as there is no single adjoining building around the four sides of the building.
“There is also no concrete fence but only metal grills to ensure proper airflow. It must be noted that there are other buildings within the vicinity that do not even come close in terms of compliance on safety matters.
“Demolition started at 3 a.m. Sunday 10 September, 2023 and it is ongoing as we prepare this preliminary report. Building cost is around N1b.”
According to Mr Lawal, the third floor of the building houses the Ogun East Senatorial Office of the former governor.
Mr Daniel visited the site on Sunday morning.
The former governor and Mr Abiodun have political differences. Despite both standing for election this year as APC candidates, the governor accused his predecessor of working against his reelection.
They are both from the Ogun East Senatorial District. Mr Daniel won his own senatorial election but Mr Abiodun won in only two of the district’s nine local government areas in the governorship election.
Mr Abiodun’s main opponent in that election, Ladi Adebutu of the PDP, is from the same town, Iperu Remo, as the governor.
Reactions to demolition
Meanwhile, videos and pictures of the partially demolished building have been greeted with outrage on social media.
Also, a governorship aspirant in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Segun Showunmi, in an open letter, urged President Bola Tinubu to call Governor Abiodun to order.
” President Bola Tinubu, you are enabling Gov Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, We keep reporting him but what we see is that the more we report him, the more you pamper him with access to you, It was funny how he made the trip to India coming on the hills of the allegation of a chairman of local government around interference with local government funds, will Ogun now feel safer under President Buhari, a Daura man and unsafe under a Yoruba man?
“If no one will tell you, I will, your body language is making us feel very unsafe in Ogun State, first Dapo Abiodun got his thugs to attack me in the premises of a court, and then he shamefully removed Wale Adedayo based on a serious allegation of diversion of local government funds, now a sitting Senator has to deal with this.
“ President Bola Tinubu is this the type of thing you stand for, or am I dreaming, The likes of Dapo Abiodun who are profiting from a democratic struggle that took so many lives cannot be allowed to rubbish what is ideal behaviour and conduct in democracy. Mr President in our Yoruba language Dundu Dapo Abiodun nlata Ju. (Dapo Abiodun’s actions are getting extremely overbearing). The powers and privileges of a governor cannot and should not be so total that a president will be unable to save the people,” Mr Showunmi wrote in the letter.
When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Lekan Adeniran, said the state government would be issuing a statement on the development.
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