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Why Oyo govt pulled down Ayefele’s Music House

*I’ve necessary permits—Ayefele
*It contravened planning laws—Oyo govt
*Demolition, executive rascality—SERAP

DEMOLITION: A crowd besieged Music House to sympathise with the Fresh FM after the demolition by Oyo State government, of the radio station owned by Yinka Ayefele, in Ibadan despite a court order, yesterday. See more photos on page 6. Photos by Dare Fasube.

By Dapo Akinrefon & Ola Ajayi

IBADAN—DESPITE public outcry and a court injunction restraining the Oyo State government from demolishing a building that houses  an Ibadan-based private radio station, Fresh FM, the government, yesterday, demolished the music recording studio.

The N800 million state-of-the-art studio belongs to a popular musician, Yinka Ayefele.

The government said the building breached the physical planning law of the state.

However, Ayefele insisted that he has all necessary building permits from the state government.

Reacting to the development, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, accused Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State of executive rascality. It condemned “the unlawful demolition of Fresh FM building owned by Yinka Ayefele, and the forced eviction of residents by the Oyo State government”, describing it as a “grave violation of fundamental human rights and contrary to international law.”

Demolition of music studio

Before the demolition early yesterday morning, the state government had pasted a demolition notice, which notified the owner of the building of the demolition.

To prevent the demolition from being carried out by the government, the musician approached the court to obtain “an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants/respondents whether by themselves, their servants, agents, privies or any person acting pursuant to the instruction of the defendants/respondents from demolishing or attempt to demolish the property of the claimants/applicants lying, being and situate at plot 11A and 11B along ring road linking the Lagos-Ibadan express road, Ibadan, Oyo State or in any manner proceeding to enforce the notice of demolition dated August 13, 2018 with reference No. TF20181308/002 issued by the defendants/respondents pending the determination of the substantive suit already filed.”

Court injunction

Justice I.S Yerima of an Oyo State High Court, had on Monday, ordered the hearing notice and necessary processes to be served on the Oyo State government at the hearing of a motion ex parte filed by Yinka Ayefele.

At the hearing of the application, Chief Olayinka Bolanle, who led a team of lawyers for Ayefele, told the court that the ex parte application became a compelling necessity following the shortness of the demolition notice issued by the government.

He dismissed the claim by the state government that the building violated the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development Law 2012, adding that the building plan was duly approved by Ibadan South-East Local Planning Authority on June 6, 2008.

Ayefele prayed the court to declare that demolition without a prior court order violates Sections 36 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution because it was issued without a hearing granted Ayefele, who has a subsisting approved building plan number IB/SE/TP/C/019 of June 6, 2008.

During and after the demolition, yesterday, thousands of residents in the sprawling city trooped to Challenge area of the city to express their sympathy for the entertainment icon.

I’ve all necessary permits—Ayefele

In a statement, Ayefele insisted that all necessary building permits were obtained from government for the construction of the building.

Lamenting on his facebook page, Ayefele said: “Oyo State Government did it at last, my pains, my sweat. So help me God.”

It contravened planning laws—Oyo Govt

In its defence, the Oyo State government explained that the demolition notice to Music House, Fresh FM 105.9, Ibadan was not based on sentiments or witch-hunt, saying that contravention notices were served to different organisations in the state since June 14, 2017 including all radio stations in the state.

A statement by the State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun, said the decision of the state government to deman the building approved plan was not peculiar to Music House, Fresh FM as several companies and institutions such as University of Ibadan, Kola Daisi University, University College Hospital, banks and radio stations in the state were asked to provide their planning approval, adding that “the government recently demolished several banks ATM extension and some local government structures in the state.”

The statement reads in part: “The letter to Fresh FM was received by one Bamiduro Aderonke and a reminder dated 18th August 2017 was sent to the radio station to again request for the planning approval/permit for the Radio Station in line with the Oyo State Physical and Development Control laws in which the radio station was expected to forward the approved building plan to the Bureau within seven days. A copy of the letter was received by Adebisi Akinfunmi on the 21st of August 2017.”

Arulogun said that the submitted building approval was actually meant for an office complex and not a radio station, thereby 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, stating that the submitted approval from Music House deviated from the approved plan which in effect makes the approval null and void because deceitful information was given to the approving authority and also deviation from the approval granted both in construction and use.

Demolition, executive rascality —SERAP

SERAP blasted Governor Ajimobi over the demolition saying the action was politically-motivated.

SERAP, in a statement, by its Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, said: “This is a gross abuse of powers by the Oyo State government and Governor Ajimobi against a radio station simply doing its job. The action is politically-motivated, patently arbitrary and entirely inconsistent with international human rights standards and national laws. The action amounts to executive rascality and seriously undermines the integrity and authority of our courts. This kind of action has no place in a democratic society that is based on the rule of law.”

Knocks for Oyo govt

Also, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Oyo State, Senator Hamza Ayoade Adeseun, said the demolition of Ayefele’s music studios is “yet another intolerant action of an administration that holds the people of Oyo State in very low esteem and does not believe in law and its process.”

Adeseun, however, called on the people of the state to be resolute in ending what he called “this oppressive and inhuman administration at the 2019 general elections by ensuring that none of this evil gang is returned to power.”

Also, a socio-political group, Itesiwaju-Oyo Coalition Movement, in a statement by its coordinator, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun, flayed the government for dishonouring public opinion and order of the State High court. “It is becoming unambiguous that the ruling administration in the state has degenerated into a disrespecter of public views and judicial processes having tremendously enjoyed the support of both aforementioned while seeking people’s mandate in the elections and fighting injustice in the opposition,” it said.



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