Demolition: Ogun state government says Datkem Plaza is illegal structure, government action is executive recklessness, says owner

The Ogun State Government on Sunday justified its action in the partial demolition of DATKEM Plaza, located in Ijebu- Ode explaining that it is an illegal structure without an approved plan and also contravened the state’s physical planning laws.

Penpushing reports that in swift reaction the legal firm representing Yeye Funke Daniel, wife of the former Governor Gbenga Daniel, who is the owner of the building said the action of the state government was executive recklessness and faulted its claim

The 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.

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Penpushing further reports that he said several efforts made by the state government to halt further development on site were ignored by the developers, adding that 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 and such occurrence, noting that many of such disasters, such as fire outbreaks at Ikorodu, led to the loss of precious lives.

Penpushing also reports that the Permanent Secretary, explained that what the government did in partially pulling down the defective building was to be proactive, and challenged the owners of the structure to produce evidence of government approval in their possession

The statement explained 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.

Penpushing reports that he added that the building lacked stage certification, which is usually issued at every stage of construction, stressing that the owners were served the necessary notices, including abatement, contravention, stop work and demolition between May and October 2022, which were ignored.

The statement said DATKEM Enterprises Limited submitted application for an office building, located along Ibadan Road, Ijebu Ode in 2009 with registration number CB/05/299/2009, adding that the proposal was for five floors with airspace

‘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.

Penpushing further reports that the statement said in addition, the building had been modified and enlarged with an additional storey building at the back thereby becoming over density, adding that in view of the above, the some actions were taken which include contravention notice with serial number 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.

Penpushing also reports that the statement pointed out that despite all these notices, the developer was recalcitrant and continued with the construction work, which prompted the sealing of the site in August

‘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.

Penpushing reports that 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.

The legal firm Page Law Office, representing the owner of the structure, Adeyinka Kotoye, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN) in a statement said their client and others 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

‘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’, Kotoye wrote.

‘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’, the legal team said.

‘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’.

‘I want 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’, Kotoye wrote.

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