Scores of residents in Yakoyo Community of Ojodu area of Ifo local government area, Ogun state, on Wednesday, broke down in tears as bulldozers from the state government demolished their buildings, in continuation of the multi-billion naira Ojodu-Sango Road project embarked upon by the state government.
The residents, who included landlords, tenants and entrepreneurs, lamented their ordeal, saying the state government ought to have paid compensation before embarking on the demolitions, especially with the state of the economy.
Specifically, the residents alleged that the state government failed to fulfill its promise of compensating persons whose properties were demolished between 2014 and 2015 when the ambitious project that runs through Ojodu, Odozi, Akute, Giwa, Okearo and Sango began.
Speaking on behalf of Yakoyo-Odozi Landlords and Residents Association, the president, Prof. Olakunle Macaulay, lamented the approach of Ogun State Government in going about the road project.
“Nobody is against development; nobody is saying the road should not be constructed. But we are human beings for God’s sake; the state government is treating us like animals in the way they are going about the demolition exercise.
“In the first place, nobody has been compensated since they started the road project in 2014. As for the set of people whose houses are now being demolished, there was no prior notice. The government just came with bulldozers and set the whole community into pandemonium.
“It is an established fact that a lot of people have died, had stroke and impoverished owing to the way they had been treated by the state government.
“We want our government to treat us with respect. We had a consulting firm that evaluated the costs of properties being demolished by the government but for over three years, there was no indication that its recommendation was considered, much less acted upon.
“All we can see now are bulldozers demolishing our buildings with residents running for their dear lives, as if we were not in a civilised society. Our economy has been affected; our livelihood destroyed; mothers and children have been rendered homeless and most of the children are now without schools to attend in the next academic session. The children will ask; Why?” he lamented.
Macaulay, in concert with the other landlords, urged the administration of Governor Ibikunle Amosun to suspend the demolition exercise and consider compensating the affected residents before any other thing.
According to him, no fewer than 15,000 residents are now rendered homeless with losses amounting to billions of naira, stressing that the poor state of the economy has made the case worse for those affected.