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Oyo Govt, Ayefele bicker over demolition of Music House

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…Why we demolished it — Oyo Govt

…I don’t deserve this—Ayefele

…It’s an unfair act — Falana

By Ola Ajayi, Monsuru Olowoopejo & Adeola Badru

IBADAN — THE Oyo State government and popular gospel artiste, Evangelist Yinka Ayefele, yesterday, traded words over the demolition of Ayefele’s Music House.

While Mr. Ayefele denied flouting the state building laws, the state government denied getting a court injunction restraining it from demolishing the building.

Yinka Ayefele

Oyo govt lied— Ayefele

Addressing newsmen, Ayefele whose multi-million Fresh FM station was demolished on Sunday wondered what prompted the demolition of his music studio.

He also lamented that the trauma of the demolition has led to him being hospitalised.

Ayefele, who spoke with newsmen in the demolished structure, almost burst into tears when he said it was so sad to see what he spent 20 years of his life to build being pulled down within some minutes.

To prevent the said demolition, he succinctly explained that his wife was on her knees begging the governor to rescind his decision.

He said the governor even gave his wife $1000 when she was leaving his place.

But, to his amazement, the bulldozer moved in at the wee hours on Sunday and demolished the building.

He faulted the state government’s allegations that he did not follow due process.

The entertainer dismissed the claims by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun that he (Ayefele) received the first letter on June 14, 2018.

He said: “We did not receive a letter of demolition from any government agency concerning the demolition of our building.

“Another lie that Arulogun told is that they served us letters four times. Tell him to reproduce the letters. We respond to all letters here and we keep our records.

“This is the demolition notice they served on us. They gave us three days. What manner of man will go on air and tell lies?.

“We have relocated our studio and Fresh FM is back on the air. It is only the NBC that can stop us from broadcasting. They can only try but they can’t succeed. There is no defence for this vindictive and politically motivated destruction of a thriving business in a city that needs economic and job opportunities for her citizens.”

We followed due process — Oyo govt

Meanwhile, the Oyo State Government reiterated that due process was followed in the partial demolition of Music House, saying that no court order restrained it from carrying out its statutory role in the public interest.

The Special Adviser to Governor Ajimobi on Physical Planning and Development Control, who heads the Physical Planning Unit of the government, Mr. Waheed Gbadamosi, at a press parley held at the Film Theatre, Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism said that the government gave ample opportunity for Music House to regularize its null and void building plan but the management of the organization did not deem it fit to obey the laws of the land.

Ayefele’s N800m music house

Gbadamosi, who was at the parley with the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Seun Abimbola, the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun and the Special Adviser Communication and Strategy to Governor Ajimobi, Mr. Bolaji Tunji explained that during the joint inspection visit to the organization by the Oyo State Government officials and Music house officials, it was discovered that there was a gross overshooting of the allocated size approved with serious legitimacy implications.

Gbadamosi said: “On May 19, 2017, letters demanding for planning approval were sent to various institutions including University College Hospital, Kola Daisi University, University of Ibadan and other institutions and organisatons. On June 14, 2017, request for approval was sent to Music House and 22 other radio stations in Oyo State.

“On August 18, 2017, a  reminder letter was sent to Music House and the letter was received by Adebisi Akinkunmi. On August 25, 2017, we went a step further to send a letter to the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, titled Operation of Radio Stations without Physical Planning permit/Approval in Oyo State. A few months later, precisely November 27, 2017, another letter was sent to NBC complaining about Physical Planning Law and Regulations by the Radio station owners, developers and operators.

“We got a response from NBC on December 4, 2017 and NBC said that the issue is outside its mandate. This is to show that the action of the state government is not to witch-hunt anyone as we even reported the radio stations to NBC. We also wrote to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on some banks contravening the Oyo State Physical Planning and Development Control laws, sections 30, 31 and 32 of the Oyo State Physical Planning and Urban Development Law of 2012.

“Music House submitted a building plan on June 14, 2018, which necessitated the joint inspection visit we carried out on June 25, 2018. It was discovered that it was meant to be an office complex and not a radio station among some other infractions including a building size measured 29.7 meters by 21.6 meters on the ground as against the 11.925metres by 10.20metres in the survey plan/building plan submitted by Music House.

Ajimobi’s counsel speaks

Also, counsel to the state governor, Chief Yomi Aliyu, SAN, while clarifying his earlier comment immediately after the court proceedings said: “I never said the Oyo State Government is not responsible for the demolition. What I said was that the governor will investigate whether the body that carried out the demolition, if the demolition had been done, because I’ve not seen the demolition. I have not seen any demolition exercise carried out anywhere, and with this, photos on display could be a photoshop, we have to be empirical about whether there is demolition or not.

“First, there was no order of injunction before today and even today as at this time, there is no order of injunction about anybody. There is no undertaking that the place will not be re-visited by anybody.

“And I said in court that service should be personal that the learned Attorney-General was served personally. If I was in their shoes, I would take the ballif personally to the important personalities in the civil service.

“I said the governor will investigate whether the body that carried out the demolition, if the demolition had been done, because I’ve not seen the demolition I said it in court. I have not seen any demolition exercises carried out anywhere, and with this,  photoshop can be done on photos on display. There was no injunction till now and the case has been adjourned till September 11.”

There was no court injunction — Oyo govt

On his part, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Seun Abimbola, said: “There is a limit to what I can say because the case is in court. There is a limit to what can be said about arguments that have already been submitted or requested by the court of law here.

“Let me also say unequivocally that there was no injunction. There was never at any point in time to any statement, any publication to that like is false.

“On the issue whether the government was served, that issue came out in court this morning there are arguments front and back on that, so you cannot give a comment on it while the court is yet to decide these issues. Let me also say unequivocally that there was no injunction.”

There was a court injunction, Ayefele insists

Faulting the state government’s denial, Ayefele’s spokesperson, Mr. David Ajiboye, said: “I was at the court and their lead counsel denied it. But when the judge brought out a copy of the injunction the court bailiff served them on Thursday last week, which was received at the Governor’s Office and the office of the Attorney-General, their counsel was dumb founded; he could not say anything again.

“Their defence counsel said it was not the state government that carried out the demolition, that they should set up a committee to investigate the matter. Everything is on tape.

It’s an unfair act — Falana

Flaying the state government’s action, human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, described demolition of Ayefele’s music house as an unfair act.

Falana said: “When demolishing a structure, you must be fair to the owner, why did you allow me to build five storey building, now I have built it spending hundreds of millions and you now decide that I have not complied with the law and that you are going to demolish it.

“Even in the case of the house of physically challenged in Ibadan that has just been demolished. Physically challenged people deserve pity they do not deserve to be antagonized and destroyed by our government.”

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