Olufunke Daniel, the widow of a former governor of Ogun State, and the government have exchanged barbs over the destruction of DATKEM Plaza in the state’s Ijebu Ode region.
The former governor’s wife disagreed and criticized the government’s partial demolition as “executive recklessness and irresponsibility” despite the state government’s claims that the five-story building was improperly located and broke state physical planning standards.
The five-story structure was reportedly partially destroyed in the early hours of Sunday.
Social media networks in the state were used to spread videos and images showing the building being destroyed, inciting outrage and raising fears among the populace and the political elite.
The state government claimed that the building breached state building rules and had various flaws in a statement that was signed by Olayiwola Abiodun, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development.
He claimed that the developers had repeatedly rebuffed attempts by the state authorities to stop additional construction on the property.
The building’s structural engineer was asked by government officials to provide information about the building’s structural equilibrium, but they were denied, according to the permanent secretary.
The government was proactive, in the permanent secretary’s opinion, by partially demolishing the problematic structure.
He demanded that the building’s owners show him any official approval documents they might have in their hands.
The building lacked stage certification, which is typically given at each stage of development, the permanent secretary continued.
He claimed that between May and October 2022, owners received all relevant letters, including those for abatement, violation, stop work, and demolition, but they were ignored.
The former First Lady, speaking through her attorney, criticized Governor Dapo Abiodun for what she called his “illegality,” claiming that the demolition caused her to suffer “unimaginable and huge losses.”
According to a statement from PAGE Law Office and signed by Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Adeyinka Kotoye, the government disregarded court documents “served on its agents on Thursday, September 7 asking them to stop all actions on the building.”
“I wish to think that Prince Dapo Abiodun, the governor of Ogun State, was unaware of this violation. But if he knew and yet chose to utilize state tools against our clients, that is nothing more than executive carelessness. However, we won’t give up on seeking justice or protecting our clients, the firm declared.
The company added, “This issue started when the building was scaled on August 1 by the Ogun State Planning and Development Authority without prior notification. It’s interesting to note that the same Planning and Development Authority didn’t issue a quit notice until August 31 and asked the owner to leave the property in three days.
“In the meantime, Datkem submitted an application for the building’s unsealing and regularization on August 2 and paid the required fee of N500,000 to the Ogun State government. We have proof that this payment was made.
However, the Ogun State government’s decision to proceed with the complex’s demolition in the early hours of Sunday stunned and astounded us. We’d like to think that the State Attorney General’s counsel was disregarded in this case.
“Our clients will continue to seek justice in the courts as law-abiding citizens of Ogun State. We will not give up on seeking justice in the courts, even though our clients have suffered unfathomable and significant losses as a result of this illegal demolition.