Unending controversy over Fresh FM Music House demolition

AGBOOLA BAYO reports that the social and political atmosphere in Oyo state is being over charged due to what remains a mindboggling demolition of Fresh FM Music House building in Ibadan, capital of Oyo state, belonging to a popular gospel singer, Yinka Ayefele, by the state government
The raging feud between the Oyo state government and the management of the Music House building housing Fresh FM station in Ibadan over the early Sunday demolition of the building said to worth over N800million by the Oyo state government has heat up the atmosphere.
Notice of demolition Last week Tuesday news filtered in about the notice of demolition served on the Music House management, with the Oyo state Bureau of Physical Planning directing Fresh FM building owners to “comply with instructions of the Bureau by abiding with the Bureau’s laid down state planning laws.
Oyo govt dragged to court Sensing the looming signals from the state government, the management of Fresh FM, owners of the Music House building, dragged Oyo state government and four others before an Oyo state High Court sitting in Ibadan over the planned demolition of the building in a suit numbered I/836/18 filed by Barrister Olayinka Bolanle.
In the suit, the Fresh FM Music House prayed the court for an order restraining the Oyo state government from demolishing the building housing the Fresh FM Music House pending the determination of the suit.
An order of perpetual injunction restraining the government by itself or its agents or servants from demolishing his properties and that the court should declare that “demolition without a prior court order violates Sections 36 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution because it was issued without a hearing granted Dr Ayefele, who has a subsisting approved building plan number IB/SE/TP/C/019 of June 6, 2008.
Barrister Bolanle while moving the motion exparte at the mentioning of the suit on Thursday, August 16 told the court that the ex parte application became a compelling necessity following the shortness of the demolition notice issued by government and that contrary to the claim by the Oyo state government that the Music House building violated the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development Law 2012, “the building plan was duly approved by Ibadan South-East Local Planning Authority on June 6, 2008, citing, the case of Kotoye against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)” and prayed that the court should grant the ex parte application in cases of urgency to protect the applicant from destruction.
Exparte motion The judge, Justice Iyabo Yerima, on the same day asked the claimant to ensure service of the court process on the respondent and adjourned the case till Monday, August 20, 2019, for the hearing of the exparte motion and that the matter be adjourned to Monday, August, 20 for hearing and ruling on the ex parte motion.
Aside the suit, the Chairman of Yinka Ayefele Ltd, owners of the Music House in a statement made available to journalists in Ibadan on the demolition notice served on Fresh FM Music House building, said contrary to the claims by the Oyo state government, “the building did not contravene any building law because it has the necessary approvals from relevant government agencies.
“We want the general public to know that Music House has not in any way contravened any building plan law as the Commissioner has mischievously said.
Music House has been in existence for almost 10 years and we have all necessary documents backing the building from relevant government agencies,” he said.
Government collecting tenement rate from us According to Dr Ayefele, “some questions we need to ask the Commissioner are: Why is the government collecting tenement rate from us when they know we contravened building plan law? “Why did the government approve the building plan when they know it will contravene the state housing law?” “The Commissioner should tell us why the state is just realising that the Music House building is the cause of accident along this road.
Perhaps it is also responsible for accidents on Ring road and other parts of the state.
If we actually contravened the building law, why did the Commissioner always send us press release for use on behalf of the government.
The Commissioner has featured on different programmes on our station and has commended us for our professionalism same with the Governor who heaped praises on us when he visited the station on October 6, 2016.The Commissioner should look for another excuse and stop chasing shadows.” He added, “Our attention has been drawn to a purported press release signed by Mr.
Toye Arulogun, Commissioner for Information and Culture, Oyo State where he said that the Music House Complex Contravenes Planning laws and is responsible for three fatal accidents that occurred on the road in the last nine months on which the government has received petitions.
We want to make it clear that Music House followed due process in the construction of the building and got relevant approvals from state departments and agencies associated with lands and buildings”, saying that Music House Complex is responsible for three accidents that occurred on the road in the last nine months is just an attempt by the Commissioner to run away from his shadow.
How can a reasonable person say that?” Task force team However, on early Sunday morning, August, 19, less than 24hours to the adjourned date for the hearing of the motion exparte, a task force team directed by the Oyo state government with men of the state Physical Planning accompanied by armed security men stormed the Fresh FM Music House building to demolish part of it as threatened in the Demotion Notice served on the building.
The action as expected generated controversy with the government defending its action on what it later termed as “ Partial demolition” while many others slammed the Oyo state government for going ahead with the demolition, more so, with few hours to the adjourned date by an Oyo state High court sitting in Ibadan for the mentioning of the motion exparte on same matter.
On Monday, August, 20, the court mentioned the suit and as well adjourned its hearing till September, 12 with the Oyo state government later in the day at a press conference addressed by the Special Adviser to Governor Ajimobi on Physical Planning and Development Control, who is also the head of the state Physical Planning Unit, Alhaji Waheed Gbadamosi, describing the early Sunday demolition of the Music House as in line with due process.
No court injunction Alhaji Gbadamosi added that as far as the Oyo state government was concerned on the issue, there was no court injunction restraining the government from demolishing the Music House insisting that the Music house building of Fresh FM Ibadan contravened the planning laws of the state and that Fresh FM management were duly informed through several correspondences.
Also, the lead Counsel to the Oyo state government on the suit over the demolition, Chief Yomi Alliu (SAN) who was also at the Press conference said Oyo state government was not aware of the demolition of the Fresh FM Music House building and that the government will set up an investigation team to ascertain those that demolished the Fresh FM Music House building.
Chief Alliu said there was no court order or injunction against the Oyo state government on the Music House building issue, more so, when the suit and the exparte motion was serve on the Physical Planning unit which was unknown to the law.
Alhaji Gbadamosi while continuing with the Press conference said the demolition of Fresh FM building by Oyo state government, was not politically motivated, neither an act of vendetta nor against the radio station as the station still continue its transmission despite the partial demolition and that before the partial demolition of the building, Oyo state government gave enough opportunity for the Fresh FM management to regularize “ its null and void building plan” but that the Fresh FM management did not deem it fit to obey the laws of the land.
Physical planning permit “On May 19, 2017, letters demanding for planning approval were sent to various institutions including University College Hospital, Kola Daisi University, University of Ibadan and other institutions and organisatons.
On June 14, 2017, request for approval was sent to Music House and 22 other radio stations in Oyo State.
On August 18, 2017 reminder Letter was sent to Music House and the letter was received by Adebisi Akinkunmi.
On August 25, 2017 we went a step further to send a letter to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) titled Operation of Radio Stations without Physical Planning permit/Approval in Oyo State.
Few months later, precisely November 27, 2017, another letter was sent to NBC complaining about Physical Planning Law and Regulations by the Radio station owners, developers and operators.
We got a response from NBC on December 4, 2017 and NBC said that the issue is outside its mandate.
This is to show that the action of the state government is not to witch-hunt anyone as we even reported the radio stations to NBC.
We also wrote to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on some banks contravening the Oyo State Physical Planning and Development Control laws, sections 30, 31 and 32 of the Oyo State Physical Planning and Urban Development Law of 2012.” Gross overshooting of allocated approved building size According to the Oyo state government spokesman, during a joint inspection visit to Music House building by the Oyo State Government officials and Music house officials, it was discovered that “the building size measured 29.7m by 21.6m on ground as against the 11.925m by 10.20m in the survey plan/building plan submitted by Music House which means a gross overshooting of the allocated size approved with serious legitimacy implications” and that it was established during the visit that the “building encroached into the sight distance of the Y junction along Lagelu Estate, stressing that a canteen, toilets, store and power house which were not in the plan submitted are attached to the wall fence.” “Music house submitted a building plan on June 14, 2018 which necessitated the joint inspection visit we carried out on June 25, 2018.
It was discovered that it was meant to be an office complex and not a radio station among some other infractions including a building size measured 29.7 metres by 21.6 metres on ground as against the 11.925metres by 10.20metres in the survey plan/building plan submitted by Music House,” and that the “ Mast erected and staircase on site were not included in the plan submitted, while the basement of the plan which was meant for car park has also been converted.
Alhaji Gbadamosi while stressing that a letter was sent to Music house on 29th of June, 2018 to submit a fresh building plan application that will reflect the existing structures on site and regularize the anomalies, but that the radio house deliberately ignored the letter as there was no response from their end till demolition notices were then sent on August 13, 2018 based on the earlier request for the submission of AS – Built Plan for approval.
NBA, rule of law The Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA) Ibadan branch in its reaction to the demolition entitled “Nigerian Bar Association, Ibadan branch, condemns the demolition of music house by the Oyo state government” stated “ in the wee hours of today, Sunday, the 19th day of August, 2018, the city of Ibadan woke up to the rude shock of the demolition of the Ayefele Music House, along Aare Azeez Arisekola Alao Road, (Challenge-Toll Gate Road) Ibadan by the Oyo State Government.
The Nigerian Bar Association, Ibadan Branch will not delve into the merit of the dispute between the parties but will limit itself to its implication on the rule of law.” NBA in the statement jointly signed by the Ibadan branch , Chairman, Barrister Oluwole Akintayo Akeem and Publicly Secretary, Barrister A.
Okelola Femi Omotayo Esq stated thus , “It is our understanding that there is a pending suit in court over the decision of the Oyo State Government to demolish the property.
It is trite that once parties subject themselves to the jurisdiction of a court, they must be ready to abide by the outcomes and refrain from taking further step that can prejudice the case and render the final decision nugatory The Rule of Law is the basis upon which a just society is governed”.
The association added, “even if there is no express order of court restraining the government, the fact that parties are already in court over the matter is a sufficient reason why the government must stay action.
It is a cardinal principle of law that once an application for injunction is served, the parties should wait for the outcome of the application so as not to foist a fait accompli on the court.
In view of the above, the Oyo State Government should not have carried out the demolition exercise”.
Supreme Court of Nigeria “The Supreme Court of Nigeria has since settled this in the landmark case of Ojukwu v.
Military Governor of Lagos State [1986] 1 NWLR (Pt.18) 621 that parties including state governments, must not resort to self-help and that the fact that a matter is in court is sufficient to restrain parties from taking the law into their hands.
It must be clear to the actors in government, being products of democratic rule, that they must at all times abide by and respect the Rule of Law.” It added “The Nigerian Bar Association, Ibadan Branch, therefore condemns this act of the Oyo State Government in its strongest term.
The Nigerian Bar Association, Ibadan Branch under our watch will continue to be in the vanguard of the promotion of the Rule of Law.”.
Fate of journalists and media workers Also, the Oyo state Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, (NUJ) in a statement condemned the demolition of the Fresh FM Music House building by the Oyo state government despite that the matter is still before an Oyo state High court sitting in Ibadan.
Oyo NUJ in a statement jointly signed by the Chairman, Comrade Adewumi Faniran and Secretary, Comrade Bola Ogunlayi said, “The Nigeria Union of Journalists, (NUJ), Oyo State Council is highly disturbed by the demolition of the Music House of Fresh FM 105.9, Ibadan today by the Oyo State Government .
What the Fate of Journalists and other Media workers of the establishment would be, not to mention the great loss that would bedevil the owner of the organization.
“As the fourth estate of the realm and believers in the rule of law, Oyo State NUJ expected that the court would have been left to take a definite decision on the issue of demolition before it was carried out.
To ensure that no matter what, it must come to the aid of Fresh FM which has been a pride of Ibadan in particular and Oyo State as a whole, by relocating them to another site and ensure smooth take off of their operations once again.” With the matter yet to be resolved, all eyes and hopes of the parties involved in the Fresh FM Music House building issues are now on the ongoing legal battle which will surely be on again on Wednesday, September, 12 ,( the day the hearing of the suit filed by owners of Fresh FM, Dr Yinka Ayefele) before Justice Iyabo Yerima

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