Condemnations trailed the demolition of the N800 million Music House belonging to music maestro, Yinka Ayefele, by the Oyo State Government in the early hours of yesterday. The building houses the House of Fresh FM 105.9, a popular radio station in Ibadan, the state capital.
Commenting on the demolition, the Nigeria Union of Journalists, (NUJ), Oyo State council, an Abuja based human rights activist, Barrister Kayode Ajulo and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), in separate statements issued in Ibadan on Sunday said they were disturbed by the demolition of the Music House of Fresh FM 105.9, Ibadan.
The NUJ in a statement jointly signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the Union, Comrades Adewumi Faniran and Bola Ogunlayi respectively, said it was worried that the exercise had to be carried out when the matter was before a court of competent Jurisdiction.
The union expressed concern about 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 organisation.
“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,” it said.
The union therefore called on the government to ensure that it comes to the aid of Fresh FM, which according to them was a pride of Ibadan in particular and Oyo State as a whole.
They urged the government to relocate the station to another site and ensure smooth take off of their operations once again.
Also speaking on the development Kayode Ajulo said Mr. Yinka Ayefele, the owner of Music House had obtained an injunction restraining the Gov. Ajimobi’s Oyo State government from demolishing his property.
He added “An injunction is an equitable remedy in the form of a court order that compels a party to do or refrain from specific acts. A party that fails to comply with an injunction faces criminal or civil penalties, including possible monetary sanctions and even imprisonment. They can also be charged with contempt of court.
“In the absence of the injunction and in the face of the demolition of the Music House which was done at the early hour of today as well as considering the building permit purportedly obtained by Mr. Ayefele about 10 years ago, it is my humble opinion that the Oyo State government must adequately compensate Mr. Ayefele for his loss of full usage of his property.
”Also note that in the event the state government refused to come to terms with the beloved musician and compensate him accordingly, he is empowered and has right to seek court intervention to ensure that his right and interests are protected in the property,” he said.
APGA, in its reaction, noted that an attack on one media house, was an attack on progressivism and sympathised with the management and staff of Fresh FM, Ibadan on the anti-progressive demolition of “your structure without regard to the rule of law by the toxic leadership of Gov Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State.”The APGA chairman, Angel Folorunso, said it was a clear demonstration of the act of state-sponsored terror characteristics of the APC-led regime.
“If Oyo State government has axe to grind on your station, the court house should have been the best place to head for to resolve the issue.
“APC is not a progressive party in the true sense of the word. Ajimobi’s government is intolerant of culture and press freedom.
“We, in APGA, recognize your role in deepening democracy and as such, will never support any despotic regime intolerant of critical comments. We are with you again and again and condemn in the strongest terms the demolition of Fresh FM radio station without a recourse to the rule of law rather than the obnoxious rule of might,” the party said.
The Yoruba Youth Socio-cultural Association (YYSA) also berated the Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, over the demolition.
The association’s national President, Olalekan Hameed and secretary, Olawale Ajao in a statement on Sunday, said government ought to have considered the socio-economic significance of the station before carrying out the demolition exercise.
The group noted that while the popular musician, Ayefele, may have built his office illegally contrary to the urban/town planning laws, the government ought to have halted it’s decision to demolish the property after considering the socio-economic impact of the radio station, political misconception that would be generate as well as the public outcry from the masses who believe that they are being enlightened and educated through various programs by the radio station.
The group sympathised with Ayefele and admonished Nigerians to learn from the incident and avoid making mistakes that would be taken advantage of by government or individuals.
The Music House in which Fresh FM 105.9 Ibadan is located belongs to popular musician, Yinka Ayefele and was located at Challenge, Lagos bye-pass, Ibadan.
The state government had marked the structure for demolition saying it contravened the state’s planning laws.
But Ayefele, in a statement on Wednesday, said the demolition notice was just a witch-hunt and approached an Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan, to stop the planned demolition.
His counsel, Mr Olayinka Bolanle, in an ex-parte motion, filed before the court, sought for an order of the court restraining the government from demolishing the property pending the determination of the suit.
Justice I. Yerima ordered the claimant to ensure service of the court process on the respondent and adjourned the case till today for the hearing of the ex-parte motion.
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