From Ayodele Samuel Lagos
Despite public outcry, the Oyo state government yesterday went ahead with its planned demolition of popular singer Dr Yinka Ayefela Music House in Ibadan, housing Fresh FM radio station owned by the musician.
The demolition commenced in the early hours of Sunday morning by agents of the Oyo state government with armed security agents.
The demolition came days after Ayefele dragged the state government to court over the matter.
He had also approached an Oyo state High Court on the condition that the government does not have any right to demolish his property.
Ayefele on his Facebook page wrote that the Oyo state government did at last…my pains my sweat,
“I greet the entire Fresh FM fans both home and abroad. I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude for this opportunity and experience. As we all know, Fresh FM is not an Ayefele owned company but a company owned by the general public. I will like to plead with everyone not to cause any casualty especially on the Ajumose bus packed around Music House. Please and please do not destroy any government property. This happened for a reason. Let’s leave everything in God’s care. And I’ll like to thank the government of Oyo state for what they have done.Where they began and where they are at the moment.
Fresh FM’s director of corporate affairs and promotions David Ajiboye said last week that the government wanted to demolish the building because the staff canteen, a spiral staircase, the mast and the fence were not in the approved plan.
Symphatisers who gathered in large numbers as soon as Ajimobi’s demolishing bulldozers got to the house worth several millions amidst tight security could not hold back their tears as they watched the edifice being pulled down.
There has been skeptism about the demolition since Governor Ajimobi made his intention known that he would demolition the house.
The Nigerian Union of Journalists has described as an executive lawlessness the demolition of the Music House building that houses Fresh FM by the Oyo State Government during the pendency of a suit in court of competent jurisdiction
In a statement in Abuja, the immediate past Vice President of Zone B of the NUJ Prince Dele Atunbi said the action of the Oyo State Government is against the rule of law.
Prince Atunbi cautioned that the government would have waited for the outcome of the matter before the court before carrying out any action.
The labour leader pointed out that the action of the Oyo State Government smacks of a serious attempt to gag the press.
The former Vice President solidarised with the management and staff of Fresh FM and equally saluted their courage of coming back on air few hours after the assault.
Prince Atunbi advocated the need for both the government and the governed to always respect the rule of law.
It would be recalled that the government had earlier issued a three-day notice for the demolition of the building, accusing the property owner of not receiving approval for the construction.
According to a statement by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Toye Arulogun, the demolition notice to the music House Fresh FM 105.9 Ibadan was not based on sentiment or witch-hunting.
It said contravention notices were served to different organisations since June 13 last year including all radio stations in the state.
According to Arulogun, the Music House ignored his request for an application for a new building plan having established through an inspection that the building violated its original plan without seeking physical planning approval from the state Bureau of Physical planning and development control.
He stated that several companies and institutions such as the University of Ibadan, UI, Kola Daisi University, University College Hospital, UCH, Banks and radio stations were similarly asked to provide their approved plans.