60,000 residents to be displaced for Ogun-Lagos water project
RESIDENTS of Akute, Baale, Akin-Osi and Oke Aro communities in Ogun State have been thrown into sorrow following a seven-day notice issued them by the Urban and Regional Planning Development Board of Ogun State, to vacate their homes, for the construction of a state water corporation pipeline.
The government has also mapped out a 50- metre land space for the proposed project, which residents consider a service to them and are appealing to the government to bring it down to about 20 metres to reduce the number of displaced and homeless persons
According to the Chairman of Joint Community Development Council Appeal Committee, Rev. Joshua Adegbola: “We know they have designed the project and, as a listening government, we want both states, Lagos and Ogun, to help us reduce the number of houses they want to demolish and allow houses that are not directly affecting the pipe to stay.
We have been given seven days to present our papers and (or) vacate the place, which is too short for a notice.”
“Even as we are aware that there are some houses that will be unavoidably demolished, we want the government to design social programmes to mitigate the effect of the demolition.”
He, however, noted that many of the affected house owners are aged retirees, who have no steady means of livelihood, as pulling down their homes would further aggravate their predicaments.
“The government should know that meaningful projects are people-driven,” he noted.
The Chairman Ore-Ofe Community Development Council, Akute, Dr. Titus Folusho, has said that the proposed project would affect 95 per cent of the people in the community, and was appealing to the government to have mercy on them.
“From our findings, the pipes to be laid will not take more than two, three meters and so demolishing over 6,000 houses will constitute nuisance.”
“They are telling us that they need to put their materials on the rest of the land space, but then there is a space of land where mechanics put up, why can’t they use that place to keep their materials instead of displacing too many people. When they finish, they will go away with their materials and all those places will be bushy and become hideout for criminals, which is not good for us. So we are appealing to the government to reason along with us and consider the loses to the gains.”
The notice, which was served by Ogun State Government Urban and Regional Planning Board Development Control Department on May 12, read in part: “It appears that the provision of the Urban and Regional Planning Law No. 20 of 2005 and the enabling regulations of the state has been contravened in respect of construction of illegal structures on Lagos State Water Corporation Pipeline right of way, if you fail to remove the said contravention within seven days from the date of service of notice, the said contravention shall be demolished after service of demolition notice to you.”