By James Ogunnaike, ABEOKUTA

Landlords whose buildings were marked for demolition by Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) in six communities in Ogun State staged a protest on Monday over non-payment of compensation for their structures acquired by the company.

The communities include Shogbamu, Tonowo, Asipa, Oke Ata, Shoyoye and Otooto areas of Obafemi Owode Local Government are affected by the construction of a power transmission project embarked on by TCN in the state.

The aggrieved landlords lamented that since eight years ago when their properties were acquired for the construction of the project, no compensation was paid to them.

The landlords who carried placards with various inscriptions pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently address their grievances and order TCN to pay them the compensation with the current value of their properties.

READ ALSO: Electricity: FG should unbundle TCN, appoint consultants for forensic audit of DisCos — Experts

Some of the inscriptions on their placards included “Transmission Company of Nigeria, enough of deliberate hardship and man inhumanity to many property owners”, “We demand No payment, No project from TCN”, “Heartless, unreliable, irresponsible and wicked Transmission Company of Nigeria”.

Others are: “Eight stressful years, property seized for eight years as against the promised six months compensation”, “Transmission Company of Nigeria”, “Stop killing us, Five died already”.

Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Oluade Oluwagbemiga said many of the landlords have died of frustration during the agitation for the compensation.

‘Many are dead’

Oluwagbemiga noted that over 30 houses were marked for demolition in his community alone in 2014 when transmission company of Nigeria inspected the communities for electricity project, which made them abandoned their homes and relocate to another settlement.

He stressed that TCN had made several promises to compensate the building owners, but had failed to fulfil its promises for the past eight years.

His words, “In 2014, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) came here to inform us that they want to start a project.

“In May 2014, they gave us what I can refer to as contract agreement, they signed with every individual that the project will pass through their land and they promised that after six months, we will be compensated.

“After six months, nothing came out. It was in 2020 that they came to pay people that had crops and those who had land. They did not pay those who have structures, buildings and foundations.

“When they paid those people with crops in 2020, they promised that they are coming back to pay those of us with structures after a month, but they did not come until November 2020.

“When they came, they said they wanted to pay for outstanding balance for crops and land owners.

“Those of us that have properties and structures protested that we should be paid alongside the crops and land owners.

“It was even recorded. Because of our protest, they called their head office in Abuja that we did not allow them and then they went back to Abuja.

“In 2021, they continued like that. Whenever we called them, they will tell us they were coming the following day.

“They made promises upon promises without fulfilling any. In November, we saw some contractors working in the area, we had to stop them because they have not fulfilled their promises.

“On November 16, 2021 they came down to this area and they held meeting with our people that they have contacted their head office in Abuja , promising that they will pay by the middle of December 2021.

“We all expected that they will fulfill this promises, but nothing has been done till this moment.

“It is almost eight years, we are having the feelings that probably some people want to embezzle the money”. 

“In this axis, we have Shogbamu , Tonowo , Asipa , Oke Ata , Shoyoye , Otooto , all those communities that have structures have not been paid. In our own community, it cannot be less than 30 houses that will be demolished for the project”.

“We have to vacate the area, you know transmission line is a high voltage line. You have to leave a 15meter on this side and 15meters on the other side. Any structure along that line will have to be vacated”.

“Part of our agitation is that they should value our structures with the current economic situation.

“As at the time we signed the agreement, cement was about 2,000 Naira.

“But now Cement is 4,500. They should value it with the current economic situation”.

“We want Mr President to interfere. Telling the Transmission Company to return our properties is not reasonable again, they should revalue our property and pay us on time.

“People have relocated, some have died in the course of struggling to survive.

“The Baale of Shogbamu village has died. The Baale of this village is also dead. All these deceased persons held meetings with us in December last year.

“Their death is linked to frustration from the Transmission Company. When you have a property and you cannot access it, you will be frustrated.”

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