Don't Demolish Our Ancestral Homes, Ogun Communities Beg Governor Abiodun - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS


Friday, June 3, 2022

Don't Demolish Our Ancestral Homes, Ogun Communities Beg Governor Abiodun

One of the demolished buildings

ABEOKUTA - Residents of Ogunro, Lanki, Itori, and Igbore villages in Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta under Obafemi Owode local government area of Ogun state have appealed Governor Dapo Abiodun to stop the planned demolition of their houses and alleged forceful take over of their lands.

The villagers on Thursday protested against the demolition of some houses in Itori village and other adjoining villages allegedly to pave way for the government proposed Hill Crest Estate.

The rural dwellers who claimed the village had been in existence for over 300 years, said if the government wiped it out, they will have no other option than to sleep on the streets. 

When THE ENCOUNTER NEWS visited the agrarian communities, it was observed that some houses were partially demolished.

The settlers who are mostly farmers maintained that, their protest was not an attack on the governor but to appeal for the government to stop demolition. 

The protesters were armed with posters with inscription such as; 'We are behind you for second term, Gov. Abiodun is not a destroyer', 'Don't demolish our homes, we have no where to go', among others. 

In a letter sighted by THE ENCOUNTER NEWS dated 9th May, 2011 and signed by the Surveyor General of the state, Surv. Gbenga Ogunnoiki , the Ogun state government had excised 30.619 hectares of land for Ogunro village from the Secretariat Complex Acquisition, Abeokuta.

Similarly, the same letter was given to Baale-in-Council, Lanki Village where another 30.231 hectares of land was excised for the village from the Secretariat complex acquisition.

Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Abu Hafiz, said former governor Gbenga Daniel, had excised the communities land excluding the villages from government acquisition.

He stressed that when some government officials visited the communities last year to challenge the excision, the villagers wrote the state government without reply.

Hafiz added that a large part of the land had already been taken over during the construction of rail tracks in the area. 

He also said large part of the land has also been taken over during the construction of rail tracks in the area. 

His words, "We are using this opportunity to appeal to the governor, we don't want the government to see our protest as an affront, it is just an appeal. A government have done the excision and we believe that government is continua, we implore the governor not to destroy our houses, this is our ancestral home, we have no other place to go, we don't want them to demolish our houses.

"If a government have excised some land for us and we have been enjoying the excision, we believe that governor Abiodun will not come and cancel the excision.

"About seven houses have been demolished, especially around Itori village, but we don't want this to continue that is why we are appealing to him.

"We are ready to comply with the rules of the government if they to pay for them to recognized us. He should stop the demolition, that is our appeal to him." 

Also speaking at the protest ground,  Village head of Ogunro community, Prince Olakunle Bodunde, also appealed to the government saying the village is important to their history as a people. 

He said, "We the four communities that are affected are begging the governor to please leave our inheritance for us, this is our ancestral home.

"We are also appealing to all the ministries and agencies of government, including the Ministry of Urban and Regional planning, the Bureau of Lands and Survey and the Surveyor General office to please leave where we are now.

Baale Ogunro village

"Our forefathers have been here since 30 years." 

In a swift reaction, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Tpl. Tunji Odunlami, claimed that the communities have been acquired by government in the last 20 years to construct Hill Crest estate.

"For more than 20 years, the place was acquired for the construction of the secretariat and that land was designated for the Hill crest estate.

"You cannot just move into government committed acquisition. If it is not a committed acquisition area, the government will probably accommodate you, but if it is committed when government have done a scheme in the area, it is very difficult for them to be accommodations.

"They have done two things, one, they went into a government scheme to go and build, second, they do not have planning permission as required."

He, however, said those who are within the excision parameters are excluded from the demolition.

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