Ogun State Government gas disclosed that it took proactive measures by partially pulling down DATKEM Plaza, Ijebu Ode, said to be owned by Mrs Olufunke Daniel, wife of the state’s former governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel.
The government called the plaza an illegal structure without an approved plan, adding that it contravened the state’s physical planning laws.
A statement signed and made available to newsmen on Sunday by the Permanent Secretary (PS), Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Olayiwola Abiodun, said the structure violated the building codes of the state with numerous defects.
He said several efforts made by the state government to halt further development on site were ignored by the developers, adding that government officials requested the structural engineer in charge of the building to assess the structural equilibrium of the building, a request that was ignored
According to the Permanent Secretary, what the government did in partially pulling down the defective building was to be proactive.
He further challenged the owners of the structure to produce evidence of government approval in their possession.
Abiodun said the building lacked stage certification, which is usually issued at every stage of construction.
He also said that owners were served the necessary notices, including abatement, contravention, stop work, and demolition, between May and October 2022, which were ignored.
The Permanent Secretary explained that DATKEM Enterprises Limited applied to construct an office complex located along Ibadan Road, Ijebu Ode, in 2009 with registration number CB/05/299/2009.
“The proposal was for five (5) floors with an airspace of three metres at the right, five metres at the left, and five metres at the rear, and a setback of 32.5516 metres to the middle of Ijebu Ode/Ibadan Road, Ijebu-Ode.
“The Zonal Town Planning Office observed during routine monitoring that the construction on site did not conform to the plan granted as there was a deviation from the airspace and setbacks
“In addition, the building had been modified and enlarged with an additional-storey building at the back, thereby becoming over-density.
“In view of the above, the following actions were taken:
“Contravention Notice with Serial No. 0106983 was served on May 24, 2022. The Stop Work Order with Serial No. 000623 was served on May 24, 2022.
“Another Stop Work Order with Serial No. 001065 was served on July 22, 2022, when the first notice was ignored.
“Demolition Notice with Serial No. 0007549 was served on October 11, 2022, and Notice to Seal with Serial No. 000815 was served on October 4, 2022,” Abiodun said
The statement further noted that despite all these notices, the developer was recalcitrant and continued with the construction work.
“This prompted the re-sealing of the site on August 1, 2023. However, the sealing did not stop the developer from further construction as work continued on the site.
“However, the developer wrote an appeal for unsealing, which was considered so as to evacuate the belongings on the premises. Thereafter, a quit notice with Serial No. 0030750 was served on August 31, 2023.
“In view of the above, since the developer had remained recalcitrant, the Zonal Town Planning Office’s recommendation for the demolition of the office building was upheld,” it added.
The state government reiterated its avowed commitment to ensure the safety of its citizens, adding that any defective buildings in any part of the state will be demolished to safeguard the lives of the people.
But a lawyer for the former governor’s wife, Mr Adeyinka Kotoye (SAN), said the state government ignored the relevant court papers served on them on September 7, 2023, not to go ahead with the vandalisation and demolition of DATKEM Plaza belonging to the former first lady.
Kotoye, in a statement on Sunday, said that the vandalisation was carried out by some suspected political thugs, who were alleged to have operated in under the shield of some police officers between 3am and 5:30am Sunday morning.
The lawyer said PAGE Law is a legal firm representing Mrs Olufunke Daniel over the demolition of the said complex.
“This matter began when the Ogun State Planning and Development Authority sealed the building on August 31, 2023, asking the owner to vacate the premises within three days.
“Meanwhile, DATKEM appealed for the unsealing of the building and paid the mandatory fees of N500,000 to the Ogun State Government. However, we were shocked and astonished that the state government ignored the ongoing legal process and went ahead to demolish the complex in the early hours of Sunday.
“We want to believe that the advice of the Attorney General on this matter was ignored,” he said.