Amid the controversy trailing the demolition of DATKEM Plaza in Ijebu Ode area of the state, Ogun State Governor Prince Dapo Abiodun hasy broken his silence on the matter.
He said the state government wouldnot tolerate lawlessness and the violation of the state’s building codes.
The governor, who spoke yesterday for the first time on the issue after inspecting the eight-kilometre Mowe-Ofada Road in Obafemi Owode local government area of the state, denied any political motives in the partial demolition of DATKEM Plaza, Ijebu-Ode.
The building is owned by Mrs Olufunke Daniel, the wife of the state’s former governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel.
Before the governor’s reaction, the permanent secretary of the state’s Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Engr Abimbola Olayiwola Abiodun, had at a press conference in Abeokuta, said the rumoured political rift between Gbenga Daniel and the Governor Abiodun had nothing to do with the demolition of the plaza.
Setting the records straight, the governor said the partial demolition exercise carried out by the ministry was in line with the laws of the state.
He said in Ogun State and Nigeria, nobody is above the law, adding the law that governs ordinary citizens also applies to the Very Important Personalities.
He said, “But for the fact you have ambushed me, I was not prepared to formally address that subject matter. And the reasons are very simple, we are a responsible government.
“Now, let’s go to this DATKEM. First, I can assure you that our physical planning team does not have the responsibility of unmasking who the owner of a company is. It is beyond their mandate. As far as they know, a company called DATKEM had applied for approval to erect a five-storey building.
That approval was filed in 2009, way beyond our administration. But sometime in 2022, a contravention notice was sent to the owners of DATKEM.
“In Ogun State and in Nigeria, we don’t have a set of laws for the common man and the VIP. That is not the way it works. There is one law for everybody. Nobody is above the law. And the law is not a respecter of VIPs or VIPPs. So, they sent the contravention notice to DATKEM, regardless of who the owner of DATKEM was, which was not their priority. After they sent that contravention notice in May 2022, they sent a stop order notice to DATKEM, saying you are in contravention, stop working on this project until you come and correct these contraventions. They followed that stop order with another stop order. They sent a violation order. They sealed the premises.
“The owners of DATKEM in their minds must have felt they were above the law. It smarks of impunity if the Ministry of Physical Planning sends you a contravention order, sends you a seal order and you continue with the construction in violation of the safety of all of us in Ogun State.
“They sent you a demolition order, you still did not respond. You begin to sneak into the building at night, you begin to work there. You begin to attempt to grease palms so that they can overlook your contraventions. But, of course, a day of reckoning will always come,” he said.
Reacting to the demolition, the lawyer to the former governor’s wife, Mr Adeyinka Kotoye (SAN), said the state government ignored the relevant court papers served on them on September 7, 2023, not to go ahead with the vandalism and demolition of DATKEM Plaza.
Kotoye in a statement said the demolition and vandalism of the building was carried out by some suspected political thugs who were alleged to have operated in the building under the shield of some police officers from 3 am to about 5:30 am on Sunday.