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OLUKEMI ADEBOYE & CHARITY AZUBIKE

  • Demolition cost me my husband – Fashina
  • My children can’t go to school – Adesuro

The victims of demolition of residential buildings in two adjacent states in South-Western Nigeria are still licking their wounds even as one death has been recorded as a result. While residential buildings lining the Ogun State road expansion project in Akute, Ifo Local Government, were bulldozed; the destruction of similar buildings in Badia East, Ijora, Lagos State, might have been carried out as a consequence of a court ruling.

The Akute area demolition was carried out sometime in 2013 to pave the way for a dual carriage road in the area, while three Lagos State bulldozers descended on the Badia slum on September 17 this year, shortly after a court ruled in favour of a ruling house in Lagos. Mr. Festus Ogunkuwa of 1, Oderinde Street, Arigbanla–Akute, told The Point that he had become hypertensive since the Ogun State Government demolished the house he built with his life savings.

Ogunkuwa narrated that he purchased the land on which the house was built in 1985 and moved into the area in 1993 on retirement from the Nigerian Telecommunications Company. He confided in The Point that though he did not obtain a Certificate of Occupancy on the property, he had an approved plan from the state of the state’s Ministry of Works and Housing inspected the land before approval.

Ogunkuwa said when the state government asked affected residents to value their property, he was one of the first to carry out the instruction. “The cost of buying blocks when the building was demolished is different now, so the worth of my property as at the time the estimate was done has lapsed into irrelevance because of the escalating cost of building materials,” he lamented.

He said it was disheartening that since the demolition, efforts to obtain compensation from the state government had not been successful. “The house was my only source of livelihood since I retired, the rent from the shops was enough for me, friends,” Ogunkuwa said.

A FAMILY IN ONE ROOM

Mrs. Rebecca Olaleye of 21, Arifanla Street Akute, Ogun State, said her family lost all of her husband’s welding equipment and a submersible water pump among other personal belongings during the demolition. She said her family had been living in the area for 23 years, adding that their 11-room bungalow, including seven shops, was reduced to two rooms initially.

A subsequent demolition exercise brought it to just one room and this was at the instance of one of the tenants who bribed the demolition squad with N3,000 to avoid the demolition of the solitary room in which he kept his belongings.

“I had to borrow N120,000 recently to build three shops as I was retailing in a makeshift structure built with roofing sheets. “My husband bought the land in the 70s, when he was a bachelor and he obtained a C of O. My husband, Timothy, had been to the Ministry of Land and Housing, Abeokuta, several times to press for compensation without success.

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