Posted by Justina Asishana, Minna | 24 December 2019 | 860 times
The demolition of church building by the Niger State Ministry of Lands and Housing is raising a lot of questions with the church accusing the government of unfairness.
The building, which belongs to Icons of Summit Glory Ministry, was demolished by the state Urban Development Board on Friday.
An investigation by The Nation revealed that underhand practices by officials of the Ministry of Lands and Housing are rampant making a number of people to lose their houses and structures to government demolition.
While some of the officials of the Ministry of Land claimed that the land is free, other top-ranking officials and the State Urban Development Board insisted that the demolished structure was on land allocated to the government and not free for individual use.
Speaking to The Nation about the demolition, the Senior Pastor of Icons of Summit Glory Ministry, Pastor Olamide Adeoye, said that the demolition was carried out while correspondences were ongoing on the land.
He said that the structure was already at the roof level when it was pulled down without prior notice, adding that the Ministry has spent a lot of money in putting up the structure only for it to be pulled down without any consideration for their sweat.
Adeoye stated that due diligence was carried out by the church, which saw some officials of the ministry visiting the land and declaring it free.
“From their intelligence sheet, the officials told us that there was no article on the land, that it is free. The intelligence sheet is a sheet that shows if the government will want to use the land in the future and after due checking, they said the land is free for use and we should go ahead and begin our development.
“We did not even pay for the land until all the due diligence was done by us, our architects and our lawyer. So how come a land that is free on the intelligence sheet now become government land?” he asked.
Adeoye accused the Ministry of trying to secure the land for a high- ranking government official saying they have received threats from people representing the government official.
“If it is government land, how come a government official is having five hectares of the land all to himself? How come will the Ministry approve a Certificate of Occupancy to two people? How can a government official allocate five hectares of government land to himself? They should explain this if the ministry is really claiming the land belong to the government.”
Adeoye further said that the Ministry held its anniversary service in the structure two weeks ago and it was demolished after that.
“We had our anniversary here. After the anniversary, we heard people saying that they said they do not want church here. We thought it was a joke, only for us to be told on Friday that the structure was demolished. Without any information or notice, who does that?”
When the reporter visited the District Head of the area, Alhaji Shehu MaiAngwan, he was unavailable but a member of the family who gave his name as Abu said that the land belonged to the natives, saying claims by the government that the land belongs to them are mischievous.
“I agree that the three arms zone is for the government but this area which is after the road is not part of the three arms zone. This land is for the natives and we have been giving the land out for sale without any problem,” he stated.
When queried about the demolition, he said: “For this demolition, we were not given any notice. What surprised us is that only two structures were brought down and one does not have any mark for demolition. We have been wondering why other structures were not also brought down.”
The reporter visited the Niger state Urban Development Board where the General Manager, Habiba Ahmed said that there was approval for demolition of the structures.
She said that the structure was on government land, adding that the owners had been warned not to commence any building process there.
Commissioner of Lands and Housing, Barrister Muktar Nasale, promised to get back to our reporter on the issue.
She was yet to call as at the time of filing this report. (The Nation)
No comments yet. Be the first to post comment.