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….Govt says failure to adhere to agreement led to the actions

One of the houses demolished by the govt’s officials.

Residents of Sidipon Okepa community near the Ogun State Governor’s Office, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta on Tuesday a protested against what they described as ‘forceful and illegal demolition’ of their houses by officials of the State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development.
The members of the community who stormed the Governor’s Office, were armed with placards bearing messages such as; “Gov Abiodun, save us from the officials of the Physical Planning and Urban Development”, ”Our lives are now in danger at Sidipon” “Our heritage are being taken forcefully, we can no longer sleep with our eyes closed” among others.
Addressing journalists during the protest, the Chairman, Community Development Association of Sidipon Okepa, Mr Oluwadairo Seye disclosed that residents of the community were yet to recover from the shocking incident which he said happened on Friday, April 1st 2022.
Oluwadairo explained that “this incident happened last Friday, April 1st. We just saw the officials of the state government from the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development together with some security men and touts shooting sporadically after which they started demolishing our properties”. 
“What even made it so surprising was that we have always had meetings with these officials of the state government. We still had meeting with them about a week before coming around last Friday to demolish people’s houses”. 
“We were told to ensure no further development on the land until the government releases the layout for the place and this we have equally adhered to. We felt something was wrong somewhere and that is why we are at the Governor’s Office to report this incident to our Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun”. 
“This is a governor that has never violated his promise not to demolish people’s houses, even those fences demolished during road construction were rebuilt before such projects were completed. We are really aggrieved and pained by this ugly incident, over 50 properties were affected by this demolition. We really hope and pray that Governor Abiodun will come to our aid”.
Addressing the protesters, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Townplanner Tunji Odunlami while apologizing to the residents over the demolition, however disclosed that the exercise was carried out because the owners of properties over the said land failed to listen to government’s directive stopping further development on the land until the government releases it’s layout.
Townplanner Odunlami said “the exercise was nothing but demolition of illegal structures, it’s part of the government’s move to control haphazard building and get rid of slums in the state”. 
“The directive was that there should no longer be any development in that area until the government releases the layout which is almost ready, but there has been breach of this agreement which we reached with the community”. 
“We flew our drones before we carried out this exercise and we found out that people have continued with building on the land. The intention of this government is to have beautiful and smart, well planned communities across the state and not slums. You can see how close that place is to the Governor’s Office, even other adjoining communities like the Hillcrest, Obasanjo Hilltop are properly planned”. 
“The government has no intention to take over your land, far from that, we just don’t want haphazard buildings and slums and as soon as we are through with the layout for the place, we shall give it to you so that the development in that axis will be according to the plan”.
The Commissioner later promised further engagements with representatives of the community to take a second look at other concerns raised during the protest.

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