By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere on Wednesday described the demolition of Fresh FM Music House building by Oyo State government on Sunday as “high-handedness, impunity and an abuse of power.”
Afenifere stated this in a press release signed by its acting Publicity Secretary, in Oyo state Comrade Jare Ajayi made available to newsmen in Ibadan.
The Pan Yoruba Social group while
frowning at the manner in which Ayefele Musical House in the Challenge area of Ibadan was partly demolished by agents of the state government emphasized that “the manner of the demolition is condemnable in every material particular given the circumstances that surrounded it.”
Afenifere stated further that “it is highly disturbed that a property would be demolished in this manner as it smacks of high-handedness, impunity and an abuse of power.”
“The first reason for our distress has to do with the timing of the demolition. Weekends in Nigeria are normally work-free for government officers except for those on essential duties. To the best of our knowledge, demolishing a house that was not certified to have structural defects is not a thing that could not wait until the day of normal government business which is between Monday and Friday of the week”, it said.
Afenifere added, “secondly, a case, as stated interalia, was instituted in court over the matter. It is curious that the government which kept imploring the citizens to always follow the rule of law and go to the court rather than taking law into their hands, itself resorted to self-help. Employing self-help is capable of engendering chaos and even violence.”
The Pan Yoruba Social group noted
that Oyo state government gave the impression that it believes in the rule of law by asking a lawyer to write a letter to Mr. Ayefele on the basis of an alleged slanderous statements aired on his radio station, stating that the letter written on July 27, 2018, alleged that Governor Abiola Ajimobi was defamed and asked Ayefele to meet three conditions failing which he and his radio station would be sued to court.
“There might be no report that Ayefele fulfilled the three conditions as demanded by the Governor’s solicitor, Messrs Yomi Alliyu & Co, Ibadan. One would expect that the action that would have followed such failure would be litigation rather than a demolition”
Afenifere in the statement recalled that in June this year, Oyo state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Seun Abimbola, warned lawyers, surveyors, estate surveyors and all those who have something to do with properties never to use force in an attempt to chase or scare away anyone from their properties. A sanction of as much as N500 million and jail-terms were to be imposed on any defaulter.
“One is therefore at pains to understand why the same Oyo State government would resort to the usage of force to either settle a slanderous case or a violation of building enactment. We have no doubt that whatever the infraction was could be redressed in a way better than demolishing the building on a Sunday”, it said.
Emphasizing that the Oyo state government’s action seems to be indicative of the impunity with which many governments in Nigeria are known today in their dealings with the citizens, Afenifere said, “actions such as the demolition of the Music House are unacceptable to Afenifere Oyo and members of the public. We demand reparation as well as an assurance that such actions that border on an abuse of power would no longer occur in our land”, it stated.