Officials of the Ogun State Ministry of Housing have allegedly demolished 40 houses in Regal Estate at the Magboro area of the State.
The exercise came barely three weeks after a similar exercise was carried out by the state government in collaboration with the state Mission to Rebuild (MISTRO) agency in the area.
The state government officials had on April 1, 2019, stormed Gan-un village and allegedly demolished a church and a house belonging to a widow, Mrs. Bukola Shittu.
After the April 1st, 2019, exercise, residents whose houses were not affected heaved a sigh of relief but were shocked when on Tuesday, April 3, the state government officials arrived in the area again with their bulldozers and started knocking down more houses.
When our correspondent visited the scene, some of the affected owners of the houses were seen making efforts to salvage what was left of their belongings.
According to the General Manager of Ambassage Properties Limited, the owner of Regal Estate, Mr. Amobi Olawale, “the pulling down of the buildings in the estate was unfortunate.”
Olawale said, “We came into the community to buy land for building of the estate and paid for all the necessary things we were asked to pay for. We also have approved documents from the Urban and Regional Planning office.
“But the large chunk of payment was made to the Ministry of Housing and we were promised hitch-free construction. I was in the office when I received a phone call that some officials from MISTRO and OPIC were in the estate demolishing the building in our estate.
“To avoid further problem, we wrote to the Urban and Regional Planning office requesting audience with the Commissioner for Housing on the issue. We were on our way to Abeokuta on Wednesday when I received a phone call that they have entered Regal Estate.
“Most of the structures were six units of semi-detached building and terrace, so now we have lost about N2 billion to demolition. Aside from that, we also sand-filled the place when we bought it because it was a waterlogged area.”
The head of the Gan-un village, Chief Nureni Farounbi, said he found it difficult to believe that the buildings were gone.
“It was our forefathers that settled in the village, even before we were born. And there was no time we were told that the land belongs to the government. It was a surprise to me when the government officials came into the village to demolish houses.
“What we noticed first before the commencement of the demolition exercise was a signboard they erected in the whole community and we took them to the High Court in Ifo before Honourable Justice Jobodu. It is unfortunate; we didn’t have water, electricity and good roads in the community.
“I heard that the ministry said they had given us compensation. My response to that is that they should come forward and show us the paper they used in paying us,” Chief Farounbi said.
Credit: Daily Trust