Home Feature Ogun demolition: Mother, 6 children take refuge in school

Ogun demolition: Mother, 6 children take refuge in school

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A 35-year-old woman, Khadijat Malik, and her six children have been forced to take refuge in a school following the demolition of their home by the Ogun State Government.

The state government had last week Tuesday destroyed properties in Ajegunle Araromi, Makun area of Shagamu Local Government Area.

Lamenting her plight and alleged insensitivity of the government, Malik said after the demolition, she and her children wandered about for two days and slept in open spaces in their neighbourhood.

She said it was in that state that the proprietor of the Catch Them Young International School graciously handed over the key to one of the classrooms to her.

Malik told PUNCH Metro that the government officials, who carried out the demolition came with stern looking riot policemen and did not give the residents any opportunity to salvage some of their belongings when the buildings were being demolished.

According to her, all that her family laboured to put up is now gone.

She explained that the manner in which the officials conducted themselves was as though the residents had offended them and that they came for revenge.

Malik stated, “You can see that in this village from Danko down to this area, everybody has a piece of land; we too have our own land here. We don’t know why the government suddenly emerged to demolish our houses and made us refugees on our own land.

“There is no place for me, my husband and our six children to live and do our business. Now, me and my children are staying in their school, Catch Them Young International School. The school has its headquarters in Shagamu town; this is the annex.

“We want our community back. Let them come and give us back our buildings. I’m now selling in the sun under the umbrella. I had a three-bedroom flat and a shop as well as a mini flat on the land. We don’t have a church again. They also destroyed our church. Now, we are refugees; we don’t have a place to live.”

Another resident, Kenny Awoyade, said he had nowhere to go since the house he lived was demolished by the officials of the Ogun State Ministry of Urban and Physical Planning.

He said, “I have been outside with my children since our house was demolished. We did not plan for this; we don’t have money to rent another apartment elsewhere. I’m trying to go back to my mother’s village in Abia. I have been begging people for money since the government made us homeless.”

The Press Officer, Ogun State Ministry of Urban and Physical Planning, Mr Tunde Olayiwola, said the residents of the area were notified about the planned demolition five years ago and a reminder was served on them about three months ago.

He stated that the Nigerian Export-Import Bank that acquired the land from the state government held a meeting with all stakeholders on how to compensate those who had built houses on the land and others.

According to him, only one building on the land had proper documents and approval of the Ogun State Government, adding that other buildings just sprang up without approvals.

Olayiwola said, “The community had been notified about five years ago. The Nigerian Export-Import Bank that acquired the land met with the occupants on how to compensate those whose properties would make way.

“Only one two-storey house had approval there; all the other houses did not get approval from the Ogun State Government.” Punch

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