Thursday, 23 May 2019 06:11

Residents protest proposed demolition of 500 houses in Ogun

FIVE communities in Lotto area in Ogun State have protested the proposed demolition of over 500 houses by the Federal Ministry of Work, Power and Housing to give way for a proposed road interchanged.

Two weeks ago, the ministry’s officials in conjunction with their Julius Begger counterparts marked and enumerated the houses, a situation that has elicited reactions from the landlords in the areas.

Some of the landlords, who spoke to The Nation yesterday, condemned the ministry’s plan. They accused the ministry of not consulting with residents.

Five communities that will be affected are: Orange Estate, Ogo Oluwa, Gbebira, Destiny, Charity, Dominion and Unity.

 

A statement issued by the five communities’ development associations reads: “We received the action of the ministry as an affront and total disregard for life and well-being of the people, the right and feelings of over 500 householders and millions of other citizens living in the Lotto Community.

“We totally reject and condemned a project that will wipe out the entire community, who had suffered and spent all their hard savings to provide shelter for themselves at a time when the government had failed to provide for the citizens.”

The communities said the religious entity, which generate the monthly crowd that put pressure on the road should be the ones to address the problem “within its space without causing a capital loss on the government and injury inform of capital loss and psychological trauma on their neighbours”.

According to the statement, the communities said they appreciated the presence of the various religious bodies in their neighborhood.

They, however, said the interchange design, if it must be considered in the area, “must be scaled down drastically in scope”.

A resident, Francis Ehicasy, who spoke to The Nation on the issue, said: “I am a retiree and I served the Federal Government for 35 years and all my life savings were used to build this house, which I have being living in for 20 years. I was shocked to wake up one day and I discovered that my house was marked for demolition.

“I began to ask questions and they said that the Federal Government want to build an interchanged. It is not bad to bring development to a community, but the development that will wipe out a whole community is something that makes me worry.

“Yes, the road is for everybody, but not at the expense of people living in that community.  The government can scale the project down because the design of the interchanged leads to nowhere. Then, what is the use of the interchanged? A cross-over bridge can serve the same purpose.”

When asked whether he would accept the government’s compensate plan, he said: “What is money to me?  The money is useless to me. I cannot build the same kind of house within six months and then have the same pleasure that I am having there now. You are going to displace me, and my children from my school.”

Also, another landlord, Adewummi Badejo, lamented the proposed demolition, saying the demolition would displace him and his family.

Badejo, whose house has also been marked for demolition, said: “I feel so bad that I will be displaced. We don’t want interchange. We prefer a flyover.”

The Federal Controller of Works for Lagos, Ademola Fred Kuti, in his a reaction, said the decision to mark the buildings for demolition was in overriding public interest.

He added that the affected property owners would be compensated in accordance with the law.

Kuti stated: “I am aware that we are trying to do some construction around that place. But if we are doing that, there is always room for compensation. Those affected will be adequately compensated in accordance with the law.

“They (residents) are not to tell us where to construct an interchange. Before choosing a location, we look at so many engineering factors and we’ve come up with the best engineering design. So, when the time comes, we will get everything done and if any of those houses has to go, it is in the overriding public interest.

“Nigerians on the road are more important than anyone else. So they should write to meet us instead of protesting, and we’ll tell them what we’re doing. Protesting will not solve any problem.”

 

TheNation

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