+ Victims lose over N1 billion!
THE ongoing demolition of shops and houses along the Yakoyo/Alagbole/Ajuwon/Akute axis of Ogun State is receiving knocks as well as commendations by victims and the general public.
Some of those affected by the demolition, ENCOMIUM Weekly engaged in a chat on Friday, November 1, 2013 accused the Ogun State Government of causing them untold pains and hardship without adequate notice. Others, however, hailed the Amosun initiative, saying it would put a stop to the gridlock that had held residents and commuters hostage for years.
The Ogun State Government, in its bid to expand the Ojodu/Alagbole/Akute road, had embarked on mass demolition of houses along the busy one-lane road. Government plan, ENCOMIUM Weekly gathered, is to construct a bridge and a flyover in-between Yakoyo and the beginning of Alagbole, all in Ogun State.
Construction work has even begun with the clearing of the site of the road project.
For Emeka Anyanwu who sells plastic water tanks on Alagbole Road, business would not be the same again. Begging not to be quoted, the Umuahia-Abia born trader, who owns one of the shops demolished by Ogun State government, said he has lost his only means of livelihood.
“You can see I’m now selling outside. I have no shop again. The worst situation is that we are approaching our season. By the time they start expanding the road, I wouldn’t know where to go from here.”
Like all other traders, shop owners and land owners, ENCOMIUM Weekly sought their views, the government policy is good but the timing is wrong.
It was also gathered that there was no notice of demolition from Ogun State Government before they rolled out the bulldozers. “What they posted on some of the buildings a day before they struck was a notice that the road would be expanded, but there was no notice as regards when the buildings would make way for the project,” another victim alleged.
ENCOMIUM Weekly also called at a local abattoir close to the area the bridge is being constructed. Here we met the leader of the market who simply identified himself as Musibau. The butcher, while commending Governor Amosun for his developmental strides in Ogun State appealed to him to compensate traders and landowners affected by the demolition.
He also alleged there was no adequate notice from Ogun State authorities before they demolished the structures.
“When we heard about it, we thought it was some of those rumours government agents spread to cause panic when they are not ready to work. But before you know it, they have moved in to demolish a part of the market. This has caused us a lot. We all like what the government is doing, but they should also consider us.”
Mr. Abiodun Adeleke, another business owner the demolition exercise affected, equally called on the Ogun State authority to sincerely look into the claims of the victims of the exercise. He, however, blamed some of the affected landlords for not sticking to their original building plans.
Also in our bid, to gauge the feeling of residents in the affected areas, our reporters spoke with the management of Oando filling station along the Alagbole road. The station manager who only gave his first name (Gerald) faulted the approach of Ogun State Government. Said he, “We are not opposed to the road expansion and modernization of the bridge, but we were not served any notice. That is our grievance with them, but this notwithstanding, what they are doing is good.”
One man who, however, disagreed with traders and residents complaining about the demolition was the shepherd in charge of the Lord’s Chosen, Alagbole, Pastor Gabriel Aligbe, “The expansion of the road is good. We need development. Even without the road and bridge, you can agree with me that the environment is now better. Why must people always complain? It is just like what Fashola was doing in Lagos. Many people complained, but now they say he is a good man. What I want to say is that people should exercise patience. People who build houses must know there are laws. For us here at the Lord’s Chosen, we have adjusted our building. And we are okay with them. We have no problem with Ogun State Government.”
Not long ago, the Ibikunle Amosun-led Ogun State Government embarked on demolition of buildings that were obstructing the flow of traffic along the Alagbole/Yakoyo/Ajuwon/Akute axis of the state. The aim of the exercise is to expand the road and construct a bridge/fly-over after Yakoyo. Government also has plans to further expand the busy road to four lanes before the end of 2014.
Expectedly, government’s action has caused untold pains and hardship to landowners, residents and traders in the area. Some of whom despite their plight are still counting the gains of the demolition that has cost victims over a billion naira!
– UCHE OLEHI