By Ibrahim Sheriff
A 75years old widow, Alhaja Mariam Ajadi has been hospitalized at an Abuja clinic, after receiving news of the demolition of her house located along Alfa Yahyah road in the heart of Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, Fresh Insight has gathered.
The aged widow was said to have collapsed, when before her very own eyes, her property was demolished before she was resuscitated at an Ilorin hospital, before she was moved to an Abuja clinic by her children.
According to source, the demolition took place on Wednesday, as part of the ongoing Yebumot-Apalara-Alfa Yahyah road rehabilitation project.
However, owners of the property has described the action of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq led Kwara state government as cruel, insensitive and inconsiderate for demolishing their home without proper notification, consultations and also not allowing them to even exhaust the ultimatum given in the notice issued by the government.
The letter issued by the Directorate of Physical Planning and Development Control of the Kwara state Geographic Information Services (KW-GIS), with reference number KW-GIS/ADM/166VOL.I/8, signed by TPL Ibrahim Aremu and addressed to “The property owner, Alfa Yaya (sic) road, Ilorin, Kwara state” and sighted by Fresh Insight was dated 1st August, 2022.
The letter reads, “Dear Sir, Re: Notice of demolition. The above refers please. In view of the ongoing project. (sic) Yebumot – Apalara – Alfa Yaya (sic) road, I want to inform you that the section of your property affected by the road project should be removes (sic) within the next 72hrs. Your are therefore reminded by this notice to vacate the premises to ensure seamless work along the axis. Thank you for your expected cooperation.”
The letter by the government neither quoted any physical planning breach by the building nor does it specify whether or not there would be any form of compensation for the owners of the building.
Fresh Insight’s investigation also revealed that the Kwara state government had no prior consultation with the property owners, as the information on the letter issued to the property owner depicts lack of information about the specific owner of the affected building.
Speaking with Fresh Insight, son of the 75years old owner of the property, Ajadi Ameen said “The letter was pasted on the wall around 5pm day before yesterday which was on Monday evening, they gave us 72hours to vacate the building. The 72hours should elapse on Thursday, but we are surprised they came to demolish our house on Wednesday, less than 48hours after the notice. We are in rude shock as we are now rendered unexpectedly homeless.”
Ajadi said the over 35years old four (4) units of 3-bedroom flat, bequeathed to his mother was the only building affected in the area, except for other shops along the road.
However in his reaction, the KW-GIS Boss, Mr. Abdulmutalib Shittu refuted claims that initial notice was not issued to owners of properties along the route.
He said “The question is was it KW-GIS that carried out the demolition?
“Before the construction on the road in question. all buildings in the way of the road were marked by KW-GIS on the 24th of November 2021.
“Whoever marked again recently if it was (sic), was issuing DEMOLITION notice which means it can happen within these periods stated so it’s not the first notice.”
Shittu insisted that The government, acting on behalf of the public, does so within legal boundaries and in public interest. Setbacks are established for all public projects, including roads utilities etc. Any properties sited on Government (public) setbacks are illegal and liable to be removed at government’s convenience.”
“Buildings that were removed clearly violated government’s setbacks and/or planning rules and regulations and they simply had to give way for the road construction which serves everyone.
He added that “Compensations are made only to occupants with legal rights to be there in the first instance. The government can’t be seen to compensate illegal constructions without full legal rights to be there.”