The Ogun State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development has allegedly demolished some houses, including a Celestial Church of Christ at Kajola, in the Mowe-Ibafo area of the state.
Officials of the ministry were said to have stormed the community in a bus and a pick-up van on Thursday, November 24.
They were also said to have arrived in the company of 10 mobile police officers, who provided cover for them while the operation lasted.
The son of the spiritual head of the church, Emmanuel Adeyeye, said they were not allowed to move their property out of the building before the demolition started.
He said, “We saw 10 policemen and five officials of the Ogun State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development come around 11am without prior notice. They arrived in one white Toyota Hiace bus and a van. One of them approached us and asked us to vacate the church premises that they came to demolish the building. I told them we did not get any notice, but they did not reply to me before they started to demolish the structure. They first demolished two houses beside us before they demolished our church. We were not allowed to move anything out of the church.
“After demolishing our church, they moved to the Chinese company beside our church, but the workers and management of the company did not allow them to continue the demolition. They started the demolition at 11am and ended it by 1pm.”
The Shepherd of the church, Saka Adeyeye, said he was not at home when the demolition started.
He said, “My son called me and said they were pointing guns at them. I had to tell him to allow them to do whatever they wanted so that they would not hurt them. We have residential structures on the church premises; we are now homeless. The community leader is the one who accommodated us after the incident happened.”
The community leader, Taiwo Atanda, who claimed to have sold the land to the residents, said the ministry demolished the buildings because of his inability to pay a bribe of N1.5m.
He said, “The officials came in October to demolish the structures, but we did not allow them. They left that day. So, I went to their office at Abeokuta and I was told by one of the officials to pay N1.5m if I did not want them to demolish the houses. I told them to be patient, until they came to demolish the place because I was not around. Their plan is to give five hectares of land in the area to an influential person who approached them. We were told that the land was allocated to him in 2008, but we documented our survey in 2006 and we have repeatedly checked it and there is no indication that the place was allocated.”
The state Commissioner for Information, Waheed Odusile, said he was driving.
Attempts to reach him afterwards were not successful as he did not take his calls.
A text message sent to him had yet to be replied to as of the time of filing the reports.