By Dapo Akinrefon & Ola Ajayi, with Agency Reports
IBADAN—GOVERNOR Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, yesterday, justified the demolition of Mr. Yinka Ayefele’s Music House saying being physically challenged is not an excuse to break the law.
This was as the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, and the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere lampooned the Oyo State government for demolishing the structure housing the Fresh FM saying the action does not speak well of the government.
Governor Ajimobi said this, in an interview with the Yoruba service of the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, after the Eid-el-Kabir prayers in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Ajimobi, who spoke for the first time after the demolition, said he did not see anything wrong in the demolition.
His words: “Just like the house they said we demolished, that man didn’t obey the law. People are now saying because he’s physically challenged. So, if one is physically challenged, he should break the law?
“They said he employed people, are armed robbers not employers of labour too? Should we now say because armed robbers employ people, they should continue to rob and terrorise others? We shall pity them, but we have to obey the law.”
NBC condemns demolition
Reacting to the demolition, the Director-General of NBC, Ishaq Modibo-Kawu, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Ilorin, said the demolition was a worrisome development and did not speak well of the state government.
Modibo-Kawu said: “The development is worrisome because for all it is worth, the broadcast outfits are playing a big role in reducing unemployment, especially in this situation where many young Nigerians are idle.
“They also play social, informational, educational and entertaining roles in the society. Such development does not speak well of the government and has a negative effect on the nation, especially at a point when more broadcasting outfits are influencing the social space in the country.
“In this case particularly, there are so many issues that can be weaved up negatively by people.
“We hope that as we move forward, we will be able to find a solution to the situation.”
It’s an abuse of power — Afenifere
Also flaying the Oyo State government, Afenifere said the demolition “smacks of high-handedness, impunity and abuse of power.”
Spokesperson of Afenifere in Oyo State, Mr. Jare Ajayi said: “The first reason for our distress has to do with the timing of the demolition. Weekends in Nigeria are normally work-free for government officers except for those on essential duties. To the best of our knowledge, demolishing a house that was not certified to have structural defects is not a thing that could not wait until the day of normal government business which is between Monday and Friday of the week.
“Secondly, the case was in court and it is curious that the government which kept imploring the citizens to always follow the rule of law and go to the court rather than taking the law into their hands, itself resorted to self-help. Employing self-help is capable of engendering chaos and even violence” the body reiterated.
“Actions such as the demolition of the Music House are unacceptable to Afenifere Oyo and members of the public. We demand reparation as well as an assurance that such actions that border on an abuse of power would no longer occur in our land.”