Some residents of Gan’um Mokoloki village in Ofada Council Area of Ogun state Monday staged a peaceful protest against “illegal” demolition of some buildings in the community by the state government.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the protesters, comprising about 50 women and youths, carried placards with various inscriptions calling on the state government to stop the demolitions.
One of the victims, Mrs Bukola Shittu, a widow, said the demolition has rendered her and her four children homeless, barely 40 days after she lost her husband.
She said her husband bought the land from the owner about 15 years ago with all the land documentation approved by the state government.
“When officials of the state government came on March 22, it was during church service, the leader of the team threatened to demolish the building on us, if we didn’t come out on time. We hurriedly rounded up the prayer session.
“Initially, before the demolition was carried out, some officials of the Urban and Regional Planning Department from the LCDA in Warewa had served us notice of demolition. We were not afraid because we had all necessary documents concerning the land.
“As a widow, my children and I slept inside cold for a week before we could get money to rent a single room apartment where are sleeping now. I don’t know where to start from; we had been chased out unjustly,” she lamented.
Alhaji Shakiru Adeleye, whose house was also affected by the demolition, said the exercise was carried out in bad fate.
“We want peace, we have acquired our land before the assumption of the present government, and we also paid all necessary money required of us by the state government.
“I am also surprised when the land suddenly turned out to be government land but when we charted it, it was not so. I want compensation and also want to retain my land,” he said.
Chief Nureni Faribi, head of Balogun family that sold the land, said there was no time the state government acquired any of their land for any purpose, stressing that those that bought the land have the government approval.
Faribi said taking over the land sold by his family was unacceptable.
Another community leader, Mr Ayodele Agbeleshe, a land surveyor, said all papers concerning the lands were documented with the state government.
Reacting to the protest, the State Commissioner for Housing, Mrs Abiodun Segun, said residents whose houses were demolished did not have legal titles on the land.
“As far as I am concerned, they didn’t have genuine documents concerning the property and other residents of the area,” the commissioner told newsmen