The demolition of Yinka Ayefele’s property housing Fresh FM station located along Ring Road in Ibadan, Oyo State, will continue to attract public condemnation and odium for some obvious reasons.
Oyo State government has claimed responsibility for the ungodly act carried out at the hour of a Sabbath Day when the matter is already before Oyo State High Court. The act therefore brings to fore once again impunity and absolute lack of respect for rule of law.
The fact that Justice I. S. Yerima, of Oyo State High Court had ordered Ayefele to put the Oyo State government on notice before the property was demolished demonstrates the height of disregard for the rule of law, which we all profess so loudly in a democratically elected government like Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s Oyo State government.
It is a moot point in law that any action that will foist a fait accompli on the court must be avoided by the defendant in contentious issues before the court of law.
It is therefore strange indeed that Ajimobi would still proceed in his avowed quest to correct a perceived illegality, only to commit another illegality.
On that basis alone, it becomes difficult for anyone to defend the government’s action, however public-spirited the stated intention might have been.
So, what could possibly be the justification – if not ungodliness and impunity – for the government’s haste in deploying the bulldozer at weekend that is prohibited for an enforcement, when the case was already before the court?
In other climes, Oyo State government’s complaint that the owner of Fresh FM made additions to the designed plan originally approved in 2008 without regularising the building plan would have been resolved through the same court .
As it stands now, the media was the target of the demolition of Fresh FM station.
We, therefore, condemned the state government action, moreso, when it has been revealed that the immediate motive behind the demolition was to avenge Fresh FM station refusal to retract an adversarial comment made by a guest on one of its programme that was considered offensive to the administration which also insisted the station tender an unreserved apology to be broadcast intermittently for seven days.
We are of the opinion that no responsible medium will oblige to such prohibitive request. At best, what the state government should do is to seek opportunity on the same platform to make its own case in exercise of the conventional right of reply.
We therefore advice Oyo State government to bring this infamous crisis to an end by repairing the Fresh FM building that was demolished or relocate and build a new station for Ayefele. These are the only options available to Oyo State government to redeem its battered image on the matter.