Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, on Monday, replied to former Governor Gbenga Daniel and his wife, Olufunke, over the demolition of the DATKEM plaza in Ijebu-Ode, saying the couple is not above the law.
Officials of the government on Sunday ‘partially pulled down’ the five-story building plaza belonging to Olufunke Daniel, the wife of former governor popularly known as OGD.
The government said it carried out the operation because the structure is “illegal without an approved plan.”
But Mrs Daniel tackled Abiodun over the demolition, describing the act as executive recklessness, lawlessness and irresponsibility.
However, the former first lady in a statement through her lawyer slammed the governor over what she called ‘illegality,’ saying she suffered “unimaginable and huge losses” due to the demolition.
In a statement signed by Mr Adeyinka Kotoye, S.A.N of PAGE Law Office, the legal firm said the government ignored court papers “served on its agents on Thursday, September 7 asking them to stop all actions on the building.”
However, Governor Abiodun lampooned Daniel and his wife on Monday while responding to questions from newsmen on the controversial demolition, saying the development was not politically motivated.
According to the governor, the partial demolition exercise carried out by the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development was in line with the laws of the state.
“The owners (referring to Daniel and his wife) of DATKEM in their minds must have felt they were above the law.”
“It smirks of impunity if the Ministry of Physical Planning sends you a contravention order, sends you a seal order and you continue with the construction in violation of the safety of all of us in Ogun State.
“They sent you a demolition order, you still did not respond. You begin to sneak into the building at night, you begin to work there. You begin to attempt to grease palms so that they can overlook your contraventions. But, of course, a day of reckoning will always come.”
The governor said properties are demolished every day in the state without any noise being made, adding that he had instructed that if his property violates state laws, it should be brought down.
Addressing the accusation of vindictiveness, the governor recalled his intervention in another property belonging to Daniel.
He said: “Let me take you down memory lane. The purported owner of this property, when I assumed office in 2019, had a property in Abeokuta. It was meant to be a hotel. My predecessor had sealed that property for eight years. He had issued a stop order. He was going to demolish that building, but for my intervention. I pleaded with him. That building remained under lock and key until I assumed office. The first day I was sworn in was the very day the owner moved into that property for the first time in eight years. And today, the property is called Conference Hotel in Abeokuta.
“How do you now begin to accuse the same me that facilitated the completion of that project despite different court actions that were brought then, despite different charges by the EFCC that were hanging around the project. I actually commissioned that project alongside the former vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. You are now trying to use media, trying to attract unnecessary sympathy, playing the underdog that I, Dapo Abiodun, demolished a property that first I didn’t know it was yours; your name is not on that property. You never came forward to say this property is yours.
“You expect that someone, who is a serving senator, a former governor of this state, would show a level of more responsibility. I have said it that I, Dapo Abiodun, if I have a building that violates the building code, bring it down.
“And by this, I am sending a strong warning to all of us across the state. There are many of you who have buildings without approvals. There are many of you who don’t even have C of O. If you have built without approvals, the long arm of the law will soon be catching up with you. We will not tolerate lawlessness in this state. We will not be defined by lawlessness and half hazard development when you just build anyhow.”