Hundreds of residents of Aro Love Estate in Ota, Ado-Odo Local Government Area of Ogun State have protested alleged plan by the state government to demolish their houses for the extension of Oja Ota Market.
The protesters, including women and children on Friday took to the streets chanting war songs and carrying placards with inscriptions such as “Our land is not under acquisition,” “No to injustice against Aro Love Estate occupants,” “No to oppressors”, “Don’t render us homeless,” and “Please, don’t treat us like slaves.”
The surveyor in charge of the land, who also doubles as the spokesman for the landlords in the community, Mr. Akeem Soola, said the land on which the people had erected property worth over N2bn was sold to them by the original owners, the Aro family about 20 years ago.
Soola said there was no prior notice from the government before its officials came to mark all the houses in the estate for demolition.
The residents, he said, had perfected their documents with the Bureau of Lands. They therefore appealed to Governor Ibikunle Amosun to intervene and save them from losing their property.
He said: “Those people just came from Abeokuta and started marking our houses without asking the residents where the local government boundary is. I had to go and meet one of them and asked them as a surveyor. They said they have been given a directive to come and mark all the houses within the area if the market for demolition. They said they were going to demolish them after the expiration of a seven-day ultimatum. I have never seen it in this country where you wake up one day and give people seven days to leave their houses. We have been going to the Ministry of Land and Housing in the past three days. One of the landlords here just received his own report from the ministry that his plot falls outside the market. Once a land that is here falls outside the market, I don’t know why they started marking other buildings here.”
Another landlord in the area, Mr. Kolawole Ishola, said there was something fishy and suspicious about the marking of the buildings. Ishola alleged that some companies, banks and other firms located in the community and whose buildings were initially marked along with those of the residents had been cleared.
He said: “We and the companies belong to the same community development association. We don’t know what we have done wrong. The land is so big that the market cannot occupy everything. We all have our documents. We are appealing to the governor to visit this place. He should not only rely on what some people are telling him at Oke-Mosan. Let the governor visit this site and see things for himself.”
But the Director of Lands Acquisition at the Bureau of Lands in Abeokuta, Mr. Isaac Akogun, told our correspondent on the telephone that the land was acquired by the state government since 1985.
“The land on which the estate is located around Oba Titi Dada Market is under acquisition. It was properly acquired by the state government as far back as 1985,” - Akogun said.