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Abiodun, Daniel’s rift deepens as Ogun govt demolishes ex-gov wife’s DATKEM plaza

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.Building contravenes physical planning laws –Govt

.Demolition an act of executive recklessness, lawlessness, says OGD’s lawyer

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Michael-Azeez Ogunsiji, Abeokuta

Political disagreement between Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State and Senator Gbenga Daniel, took a dramatic turn Sunday as government bulldozers demolished a prime property of the ex-governor’s wife, DATKEM Plaza in Ijebu Ode.
Justifying the demolition, the state government said the building contravened Ogun Physical Planning Laws.
But Daniel’s lawyer, A.M. Kotoye, SAN, in a letter to the government yesterday described the action as an ‘’act of executive recklessness, lawlessness, irresponsibility’’.
Also yesterday, Otunba Daniel visited the site of the destroyed property to see things for himself.
The government had on Sunday demolished the plaza located along Ijebu-Ode road for alleged violation of physical planning laws.
But Daniel in a swift reaction said he got approval for the building and followed the building protocols in conformity with the building plan.
But the state government, in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Engr. Olayiwola Abiodun said the structure violated the building codes of the state with numerous defects.
He said several efforts made by the state government to halt further development on site were ignored by the developers.
He said government officials requested the structural engineer in charge of the building to avail the state of the structural equilibrium of the building, a request that was ignored.
The statement recalled the various incidences of building disasters across the country, adding that the Ogun State Government will not fold its arm and allow such occurrence.
It noted that many of such disasters, such as fire outbreaks at Ikorodu, led to the loss of precious lives.
According to him, what the government did in partially pulling down the defective building was to be proactive.
Engr. Abiodun challenged the owners of the structure to produce evidence of government approval in their possession.
He said that for a commercial building of that status, there must be parking space to accommodate vehicular traffic within and outside the facility for workers and visitors.
The provision of the law is for 45 to 50 per cent of available land for construction as a buildable area.
He added that the building lacked stage certification, which is usually issued at every stage of construction.
He said that owners were served the necessary notices, including abatement, contravention, stop work and demolition between May and October 2022, which were ignored.
According to the statement, DATKEM Enterprises Limited submitted application for an office building, located along Ibadan Road, Ijebu Ode in 2009 with registration number CB/05/299/2009.
“The proposal was for five (5) floors with airspace of 3 metres at the right, 5m at the left, 5metres at the rear and a setback of 32.5516 metres to the middle of Ijebu Ode/Ibadan road, Ijebu-Ode.
“The Zonal Town Planning Office observed during routine monitoring that the construction on site did not conform with the plan granted as there was a deviation from the airspaces and setback.
“In addition, the building had been modified and enlarged with an additional storey building at the back thereby becoming over density.
“In view of the above, the following actions were taken: “Contravention Notice with Serial No. 0106983 was served on 24th May 2022.
“Stop Work Order with Serial No. 000623 was served on 24th May 2022.
“Another Stop Work Order with Serial No. 001065 was served on 22nd July 2022 when the first notice was ignored.
“Demolition Notice with Serial No. 0007549 was served on 11th October 2022.
Notice to seal with Serial No. 000815 was served on 4th October 2022.
The statement noted that despite all these notices, the developer was recalcitrant and continued with the construction work.
“This prompted the re-sealing of the site on 1st August, 2023. But the sealing did not stop the developer from further construction as work continued on the site.
“However, the developer wrote an appeal for unsealing, which was considered so as to evacuate the belongings in the premises. Thereafter, quit notice with Serial No. 0030750 was served on 31st August, 2023.
“In view of the above, since the developer had remained recalcitrant, the Zonal Town Planning Office’s recommendation for the demolition of the office building was upheld,” the statement added.
The state government reiterated its avowed commitment to ensure the safety of its citizens, adding that any defective buildings in any part of the state will be demolished to safeguard the lives of the people.

Meanwhile, counsel to Sen. Daniel, Mr. Adeyinka Kotoye, SAN, in a statement titled: The Demolition, Destruction and /or Vandalization of DATKEM Plaza in Ijebu Ode belonging to our client by the Ogun State Government, an act of Executive recklessness, lawlessness and irresponsibility frowned at the destruction.

It said agents of the Ogun State government in the early hours of Sunday, September 10, 2023 demolished DATKEM Plaza in Ijebu Ode belonging to a former First Lady of the State, Yeye Olufunke Daniel, the wife of former Governor, Gbenga Daniel.

In a statement by Mr. Kotoye, SAN of PAGE Law Office, the legal firm representing Yeye Daniel, noted, “We were shocked and miffed that the Ogun State government ignored court papers served on its agents on Thursday, September 7 asking them to stop all actions on the building.
“This matter began when the Ogun State Planning and Development Authority sealed the building on August 1 without any prior notice. Interestingly, a quit notice was only served on August 31 by the same Planning and Development Authority asking the owner to vacate the premises within three days.
“Meanwhile, Datkem applied for unsealing and regularization of the building on August 2 and paid the mandatory fee of N500,000 to the Ogun State government. We have evidence of this payment.
“However, we were shocked and astonished that the Ogun State government ignored the ongoing legal process and went ahead to demolish the complex in the early hours of Sunday. We want to believe the State Attorney General’s advice was ignored on this matter.
”Our clients, as law abiding citizens of Ogun State, will continue to seek redress in the courts. Even when our clients have suffered unimaginable and huge losses as a result of this illegal demolition, we will not relent in pursuing justice in the courts.

“Iwant to believe that the Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, was not informed of this illegality. But if he was informed and still decided to use the instruments of the State against our clients, it is nothing but executive recklessness. But we will continue to fight for justice and ensure that our clients”.

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