Posted by Chiffy Elijah, Lagos | 15 May 2015 | 5,573 times
Elders and community leaders of Akute, Baale Akin-Osin and Oke-Aro communities in Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State have sent a Save-Our-Souls appeal to the Ogun and Lagos State governments over a seven-day demolition ultimatum issued to landlords and occupants of the 60,000 houses, including mosques, churches and public schools within the Water Pipeline area. The building housing the headquarters of News Express is one of those marked for demolition.
The shock from the sudden notice by the Ogun State Urban and Regional Planning Board has already claimed the lives of two landlords while several others have taken ill.
The plight of the citizens, some of who have been residing in the area for over two decades, was the subject of a press conference held yesterday in Akute. It was addressed by leaders of the joint Community Development Councils (CDCs), who identified selves as dual citizens of Lagos and Ogun states, controlled by the same All Progressives Congress (APC), which they claimed to have overwhelmingly voted for in the last general elections.
As law-abiding citizens, the community leaders and elders say they are not against the Adiyan Water Project by the Lagos and Ogun State governments which is designed to benefit the public. According to a grand patron of the CDCs, Alhaji Ganiyu Busari, they want the Ogun State government agency to re-consider the measure of the specified area to be demolished: rather than the expansive 50-metre “set-back”, this could conveniently be reduced to 20 metres “set-back,” so that less houses would be affected.
He said: “We wish to intimate the government that most of the affected house owners are aged and retirees who have no steady means of livelihood. Pulling down their homes will further aggravate their predicament. We also wish to call the attention of the government to the fact that any meaningful project should be people-driven.”
They added that accepting the 20 metres set-back ensures effective synergy of the government water project as houses marked for demolition do not by any means constitute obstruction to the project.
Community elders noted that most of the 50-metre expanse shall be reserved for machinery and equipment during construction work which, thereafter, may be abandoned, making it a hideout for hoodlums and social miscreants who constitute a burden for the law enforcement agents and threat to peace in the communities.
•Photo by Rukevwe Onoharigho shows a distressed landlord pouring out his heart to newsmen . . . yesterday in Akute.
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