•..Our defence for demolition — Oyo govt
By Ola Ajayi
IBADAN—- THE demolition of the music house of Evangelist Yinka Ayefele, owner of a private radio station, Fresh FM by the Oyo state government has unarguably thrown the ancient city into another round of crisis.
The building was demolished lastSunday.
Though, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has been so resolute in his urban renewal programme, his latest action has attracted avalanche of criticism.
Not only because thousands of residents of the city are endeared to the radio station, but because the owner has been on wheelchair since 1997 after a serious auto crash.
Instead of taking to the streets for begging like other physically challenged people, the gospel musician, unperturbed by his fate-induced disability, strived hard to make life worth living not only for himself but for about 150 others including physically challenged people.
This must have prompted condemnations that trailed the demolition. Unlike other demolitions that the government had done, thousands of residents stoutly rose against the action.
Probably anticipating the stiff resistance this could trigger from people, the state government like most coup detat, used the cover of darkness to do the demolition.
Some staff of the radio station, who spoke with Vanguard, hold the view that the state government’s action was unbecoming.
I asked for a way out—Ayefele
“We saw the state government’s agent, they came around and said they wanted to measure everything around this place and I told my staff to allow them to let them do their job. They did all the measurement and after one week they sent us another letter that we have contravened saying we did this and that pointing to the canteen, the generator house, the fence, and the spiral stairs we did after the road construction and some other things.
“I asked for the way out and they said we should put up another plan for approval, which I told my architect to do. It is not a day’s job, it is near completion when we got the demolition notice.”
Fresh FM staff lament demolition
Mr Kenny Ogunmiloro, who heads the Sports Desk (English) at Fresh FM Ibadan said the demolition has caused a lot of damages.
Ogunmiloro said: “You can see the structure, it is going to cost a lot of money for this building to be fixed and you know what that means. We are privileged to work with a boss that appreciates the workers very well.
“For the last three years, he has never owed us any salary. That is what everybody can attest to. But if this is coming up at this time, definitely we need a lot of money to fix them back which can affect some of his commitments to the staff.
“So, I think this is the biggest problem this is going to pose to not only me, but my colleagues. Aside that, it has affected a lot of things, I can’t stay in my office. Aside from the sports desk, I am also in charge of the traffic department. It has been difficult to do my job the way I used to. But personally, it has affected my office. That is all I can say.”
In his own assessment, Mr Samson Akindele, Head of News section, Fresh FM, the demolition has resulted in huge loss for the station.
Akindele lamented: “First, this building costs so much. The building is worth about N800 million.
“It will affect the personal economies of the staff; I am a father of three. I have two aged parents. If this place goes down, we are off the air. In broadcasting, every time counts. The few hours that we were off the air, we lost a lot of money. It is only the chief accountant and those in charge of traffic that can say for sure account for what we have lost. We can’t determine the amount of loss we have incurred since the demolition. We have lost so much. This is the sweat of a man who has been on the wheelchair for over two decades”.
Oyo govt defends action
Defending its action, Special Adviser to the governor on Physical Planning and Development Control, Mr. Waheed Gbadamosi said: “It was established during a visit to the radio station that the building encroached into the sight distance of the Y junction along Lagelu Estate, stressing that a canteen, toilets, store and power house which were not in the plan submitted are attached to the wall fence.”
The Special Adviser noted that the Mast erected and staircase on site were not included in the plan submitted, noting that the basement of the plan which was meant for car park has also been converted.
Gbadamosi said that a letter was sent to Music house on 29th of June, 2018 to submit a fresh building plan application that will reflect the existing structures on site and regularize the anomalies, noting that radio house deliberately ignored the letter as there was no response from their end till demolition notices were then sent on August 13, 2018 based on the earlier request for the submission of AS – Built Plan for approval.