Lagos-Ibadan road interchange project pits Ogun community against FG

*Seeks compensation for 1000 houses marked for demolition

The planned demolition of over 1000 houses for an interchange bridge by the Federal Government at Lotto, along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, has pitted Ogunrun Ori community, in Obafemi-Owode Local Council of Ogun State against the Federal Government.

The community, who said they are not averse to the project if it is for the overall interest of the larger populace, urged the Federal Government to fulfil her promise of compensating owners of over 1000 houses marked for demolition for the project.

They rejected moves by the Ogun State government to take over the compensation role. At a rally against the move, Chairman, Pakuro Area Community Development Committee (CDC), Mr Anthony Omoloso, said they already held several meetings with officials of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, including, the minister, Mr Babatunde Fashola, where issues of adequate compensation for the marked houses were discussed before the sudden turns of event.

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According to him, since the issue started on April 15, 2019, progress was made, till September last year, when the minister visited the site in company of Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun.

He said: ” We held the first and second meetings, even a stakeholders’ meeting with Fashola in attendance, but all of a sudden, since September last year when the minister came for on the spot assessment of the project with Ogun State governor Dapo Abiodun.

” Officials of Ogun State Ministry of Physical Planning, have started remarking our houses afresh and are asking for building approvals from us.

“During that inspection, Federal Controller of Works, Olukayode Poopola told them that work would have gone beyond that limit, but slowed down due to evaluation and compensation issues.

“He repeated it about four times before Fashola asked the governor if he was going to provide land for the project and Abiodun consented.

“Afterwards, we have been seeing officials of Ogun State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, coming to start marking our houses afresh, that is why we said no, we cannot allow them, because if they start marking again, it means that we are going to be served contravention notices for our buildings, structures and houses.

“That is why we had a mini-rally to bring the government’s attention to the alleged takeover of the Federal Government compensation’s role by the Ogun State Government.

” We have no problem with them, but the important thing is for the Federal Government through the Ministry of Works and Housing compensate us adequately knowing fully well that, most of the buildings were built when a bag of cement was sold for N500, now it is almost N5, 000, Iron rod of 12 mm, that was sold for N800, is now between N4,000 and N5,000, you can see the astronomical increase of these materials.

But Director, Highway, South-West, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Ademola Kuti, said the ceding of the compensation process to the Ogun State Government was in response to the land use act, which vested all powers on land to the state governors.

“Any time we want to work, we ask the state governments there to give us the right of way for us to work and go. We are not asking for land but a right of way to work.
” So, it is the responsibility of the state and we have submitted all the relevant things we have promised, we are waiting for the state government.

“If you are looking for any information about land and those residing in the state, you go to the state and not the Federal.
“So, all information resides with the state and the state government will look at the true owners and deal with them. ” Our own is just to give us the right of way, we are not going to deal with anybody’s land. That is our stance.”

Kuti stressed that the Federal Government used to pay compensation in the past, but the government’s decision now is that the land belongs to the state and any state government that wants the Federal Government to do the road in their domain must give the federal government the right of way, it is as simple as that. On the smooth completion, we will continue our work while the issue is being resolved.

“This is not only on Lotto, it is a nationwide thing and some governments are already cooperating. We will continue our work on the main carriageway, pending the time this matter is resolved,” he added.

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