Ogun claims that destroying Daniel’s house has nothing to do with politics

The Ogun State government has stated unequivocally that political motivations are not behind the planned demolition of a shopping center owned by Olufunke Daniel, the ex-wife of the state’s governor.

On Monday, they organized a press conference in Abeokuta, Ogun State, to elaborate on this point.

According to Abimbola Abiodun, the state’s permanent secretary for physical and urban development, there are laws and regulatory enactments that govern development permits.

We have done our homework on the topic of demolishing the Dutkam plaza, which was owned by the widow of former governor Gbenga Daniel. As a ministry, we deal with records, not persons.

So, we can say with certainty that the law has been upheld as required, even if some of those enforcements happened a long time ago.

But recently, as we surveyed the state’s haphazard methods of development, we launched an enforcement arrangement, organizing ourselves to visit various zones, beginning in Ijebu-Ode.

This was one of ten locations we visited on August 1, 2023; a few days later, we found that the seals we had placed had been broken at some of them, and that construction had continued.

We never would have known that two significant individuals were arrested thanks to our enforcement efforts because we deal with records and not personalities.

“Thereafter, they paid the penalty fees for breaking the law and unsealing, but over time, we discovered that they continued working despite sealing.”

In accordance with state legislation, he claims that multiple notifications of violation (including halt work and seal orders) and noncompliance (including a demolition notice issued in October 2022) have been issued since last year.

He continued, “Despite the demolition notice being served last year, they continued working, so we had to reseal several times.” On August 31st, after being informed that they were defying the order, I made the trip there myself.

After I had everyone leave, I shut it up again and locked it with a padlock. It wasn’t until the topic of demolition came up that we learned who owned the buildings that were torn down. Nothing about this ever smacked of a political witch hunt; it was always about business as usual.

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According to our files, the application for a permit to build on Dutkam Plaza was submitted in 2009, and assessment work began but was never completed.

Going through the file, I could see the start of the process but not the end; they signed in, but it was not signed as collected, so I have no proof that it was approved. “Normally, whenever we approve any application, there is always a very big stamp on the front page and several signatures.

“In addition, when a permit is issued as a result of approval, the applicant is presumed to have obtained Land Use clearance. The property in question is located in a mixed-use area close to a major thoroughfare; however, it does not meet the requirements of the Town Planning Law, which stipulates that certain conditions must be met before constructing any kind of commercial, industrial, or residential structure, including air space and its governance, the distance you give to the road, and parking spaces, among others.

In addition, the law requires a traffic effect assessment test for all commercial or industrial development. The problem is that not a single served notice of noncompliance was complied with, forcing us to resort to legal enforcement.

Abiodun said that they would have presented proposals after receiving the demolition order in October of last year.

“If the place was finished and used, heads would go low, and my officers would take the hit before mine, because it would raise questions about why we permitted the project to go that far. My job was on the line. Thankfully, we have proof that we served them with notices that they ignored. In October of 2022, when the demolition order was issued, work on the second floor was in progress. The plaza was still in the process of being finished as of July 2023, and whatever was left to do had to be done at that point to guarantee that we would not be found wanting.

Director of urban development Rufus Talabi mentioned various state rules that were broken and said that the structures were constructed illegally.

Not having the proper paperwork to back up a commercial development is a violation of Regulation 6(1)(6) of the Ogun State Planning and Development Permit. Furthermore, we found that the required statutory setback from the road for that project was less than 10 meters, which is woefully insufficient, as per Section 9(1)(3).

In the same vein, “equally, Section 11(1)(b), talks about the maximum building coverage for commercial buildings, which must not exceed 60% coverage,” and “the issue of building certification for each stage up to the last floor were not complied with,” respectively.

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