The Pastor of the Disciples Mission of Christ Church, Primate Ojo Ajiboge, has accused the Chairman of the Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental and Special Offences Enforcement Unit, CSP Shola Jejeloye of ordering the demolition of his church and a building on Abiodun Sadiku Street, off Adealu Street, Dopemu, in the Agege area of Lagos State.
It was gathered that a police team led by one Inspector Sunday Oyharem and one Mr Akinlade, on May 18, stormed the area and started shouting that every occupants of the building should vacate the property within seven days as they would be demolishing the building, which housed the church.
Ajiboge told our correspondent that when he requested the court order, he was told by the team that the taskforce chairman ordered them to demolish the building and the church within seven days if the occupants didn’t leave the property.
He said, “The policemen stormed the area in a commando style and pasted a vacation notice on the entrance of the building and church and threatened the
landlady and other tenants’ to leave the house within the stipulated time given by the chairman.
“As if the notice of vacation was not enough, the policemen also threatened to shoot the tenants that if they tried to stopped them they would kill such a person because they have the authority of the governor and the chairman to do anything they want without hindrances.
“As if the removal of the windows and doors was not enough, the carpenters climbed the roof of the church and removed all the iron sheets, entered into the church and ransacked everywhere and took away money kept in the church. They stole N6.5m proceeds from my farm.
“When I asked the team leader to show me the court order for the demolition, he said they had the orders of the taskforce chairman and they don’t need court order to enter anywhere in the state, that was when I allowed them to do whatever they want to do.”
It would recalled that on December 19, some policemen also came from the office of the Rapid Response Squad, Ikeja that they were sent by (RRS), commander, CSP Yinka Egbeyemi to pulled the building down, but Egbeyemi later denied the allegations and said he didn’t send anyone to demolished the building.
Ajiboge, however, said the matter was also reported to the Lagos State building Control Agency, when some of their officials came that they were directed from their zonal office at Agege to come and demolished the building.
He said: “‘ The assistant director of the agency, Mr A S Odugbemi in a latter sent to us said the agency didn’t issue any authorization to commence the demolition of the structure to anyone, because the Lagos State physical planning doesn’t have the right to pull down any structure, saying they are the one who has the statutory responsibility to enforce building control regulations in the state.
“I don’t know where taskforce got there power from in the law to demolish a building, the Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Commissioner of police, Hakeem Odumosu should please come to my aid, the building in question is not under distress that warrant demolition.”
The landlady of the house, Mrs Grace Adeife, told our correspondent that she was sleeping when the police stormed her house and started shouting that everybody should come outside.
She said, “immediately I stood up from the bed and saw the Policemen walking round the compound and using their phone to record the building, after a while they brought out a paper and pasted a vacating order it at the entrance of the building and asked everyone to leave within seven days or else they would force us by demolishing the structure.
“There was a time when I was sick and I travelled to Ile-Ife to treat myself and when I came back, Mr Okedele and my husband’s younger brother asked me to send him my account details only for him to send N500,000 to me; it was later that I was told that the money was from the proceeds of the sale of the house that my husband and I built.
“I was seriously angry. Two weeks after I was given the money, I started seeing strange faces coming to inspect the building; those who came told me that they respected me and that I should move my things out of the house because the building had been sold and I told them that I could not leave the house that my husband and I built that was how the problem started since then.
“Since then we had been coming out of one problem to another, from one police station to another just because of the building. My husband’s younger brother didn’t contribute anything to the building he is trying to sell for his own gain.”
The spokesperson of the taskforce agency who spoke on condition of anonymity said the agency is acting on the petition sent by the complaint to the office of the commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu and directed the taskforce chairman to carry out the order.
Our Correspondent gathered that the building was eventually demolished on May 24 while occupants still had their belongings trapped under the rubbles.