Victims of demolished properties in Ajegunle-Araromi Makun community of Sagamu local government area of Ogun state, have accused the state government of forcefully taking over their inheritance and allocating it to foreigners.
They spoke on Wednesday at a press conference held in Abeokuta the state capital.
They claimed the state government, through the Bureau of Lands and Survey and the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development in the disguise of financial gain, allocated their inheritance to HAIRUN INTERNATIONAL LIMITED owned by a Chinese national and fronted by one Mr Felix.
The victims noted that the demolition which affected over twenty properties, including a popular hotel in the community worth over N500 million naira was done with an excavator owned by the Chinese company and jointly supervised by government officials, the Chinese man and Mr Felix.
Speaking at the conference, one of the victims, Femi Ogunleye, disclosed that the said Mr Felix had boasted of having acquired the land through his cohorts in the Bureau of Lands and Survey in Abeokuta.
“ We are the community members and residents of AJEGUNLE -ARAROMI MAKUN SAGAMU. We wish to bring to the fore heinous acts and abuse of court process perpetrated by the Ogun state government through the Bureau of Lands and Survey and the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development in their deliberate attempts to forcefully take over and allocate our inheritance to foreigners in the name of financial gain!
“ On Wednesday, 18th of October, 2023, we alerted the general public about the movement of excavator and other machines into a company, HAIRUN INTERNATIONAL LIMITED, owned by a Chinese national and fronted by one Mr Felix, who has been boasting to have acquired our land via his cohorts in the Bureau of Lands and Survey, Abeokuta.
“True to his boasts but to our dismay, on Thursday 19th of October, 2023 around 9am in the morning, a team of special taskforce from Abeokuta led by Mr Tunji Akinbo, the Director of Administrative and Supply in the Bureau of Lands and Survey and Mr Kunle Adeleye of Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, supported by one retired but re-engaged staff of Bureau of Lands, Mr Fatai Adeboyejo, invaded our community and went straight to the Chinese company compound to perfect the jobs they came to do.
“Emerging from the Chinese company some minutes later, excavator owned by Mr Felix, and guarded by heavily armed security men from both the military and Nigeria Police, commenced demolition of over twenty (20) properties, including a popular hotel in the community, worth over #500,000,000:00 (Five Hundred Million Naira).
“It is important to state here today that the demolition was jointly supervised by those government officials and the Chinese man, Mr Felix who not only heavily protected by well armed officers of the Nigeria Army but also wore bullets proof vest throughout the operation.
“ We are reliably inform that the Chinese national one Mr Felix through his consultant who retired from the ministry of lands in Abeokuta heavily bribed the government officials to carry out this dastard act after mislead Mr Governor to signed a demolition order at the mid of the night.
“ Despite documents given to us by these same government agencies and our massive support for Governor Dapo Abiodun since 2015, we are terribly pained that the only reward this government could give back in return for our support and loyalty is the destruction of our hard-earned investment and forcefully taking over our family ancestral land to gift to a foreigner.
They however urged the governor to investigate the DG Bureau of lands alongside the involvement of the Chinese national and Mr Felix in the demolition
“ On this note , we want to call well meaning Nigerians to prevail on Governor Dapo Abiodun to attend to reassess and review the situation in line with our under listed prayers:
1. Immediately investigate the circumstances surrounding the involvement of Chinese national, one Mr Felix in the demolition exercise of our properties
2. To set a special committee to investigate the allegations of bribery and corruption levelled against the ministry officials and politicians including his cousin (DG lands) in this case and bring anyone culpable to justice.
3. That the Governor should immediately set up a team of engineers and valuers to ascertain the cost of destruction and reconstruct all properties destroyed.
4. That adequate compensation be considered for the community.
Reacting, the Director General for Bureau of Lands and Survey, Arch. Segun Fowora said that no law was broken.
“ We have not broken any law I will show you geographic maps of what happened people talk as if we are only involved with foreigners.
In this case, there was nothing on the land when the government acquired it and allocated the land paid for by the particular Chinese company.
“ We do have a human face, now when there is impunity or people feel they are above the law or know someone who knows someone but that is not my job I do the right thing, the mandate His Excellency gives to me is what I am following.
“ They were told repeatedly that they couldn’t build without planning permission but they continued with impunity claiming they knew Mr so so so.
“ There is total impunity in the gateway state and it doesn’t have to do with just industries.
People were taking government lands and building on them even where we take acquisition and pay compensation after we leave they continue building.
“ Most of these people build without ownership of land, no papers no planning permission and validation and there was no court order I stand by that you can go and verify with the court to confirm, nothing was served to this ministry in regards to that. The paper they are holding has to do with another site across on the other side of the road further down not even on that premises.
Meanwhile, the DG stressed that he did not know the Chinese man as they claim, adding that he was only doing his job.
“I don’t know any Chinese man as they claim it’s the same way they claim to hear rumors and say, is the same way we have heard them say there is nothing we can do that’s why they continue building” he concluded.